Results tagged ‘ ice cream helmet ’

Sitting On 599 & Eating Ice Cream

On June 2, 2008, the stars appeared to be aligning themselves for something wonderful.  I’d been watching with anticipation the past month.  I saw the possibility.  But could it really happen?

Then the day arrived.

Ken Griffey, Jr. and the Cinncinati Reds arrived in Philadelphia.  It would be Tim’s first opportunity in his life to see my all-time favorite player.  And if Griffey could connect for a homerun, it would be his historic 600th blast.  It all seemed too good to be true!

Sadly, it was.

I questioned whether the Reds would sit Griff so he could hit number 600 in Cinncinati.  But the Reds had 7 more games before returning to Cinncinati.  There was no way he would sit 7 games.

At this point, Tim was not quite 2-and-a-half years old.  He really wasn’t good for BP and a full game yet.  That was just too much.  But, we headed down to Philadelphia early for this one.  I wanted to maximize our time in Griff’s presence.  But when the Reds took the field for BP, Griff was nowhere to be seen.  This wasn’t promising for our chances of seeing number 600.

In fact, it ended up that Griff’s knee was acting up.  He was not in the line-up.

Anyway, as I said, Tim wasn’t really a BP guy yet.  So we did a little touring around the ballpark before the game…

1 - exploring citz bank park.jpgHe pushed his stroller all the way up the winding ramps up to the upper deck in the RF foul corner.  I took this shot as we turned the final bend in the ramps.  That’s Lincoln Financial Field in the background.

I think this was Tim’ first time ever being in an upper deck of a ballpark.  He was a little *iffy* about it.  I’m not sure if it was because he was uncomfortable being up so high or if it was because the sun was blazing down in our eyes.

2 - upper decking it.jpgSo we asked a nice patron to take our picture…

3 - TJCs up top.jpg…and then we headed for lower grounds.

We got some french fries and found a nice spot behind Section 106 at one of the many standing counters ringing the field level at Citizens Bank Park…

4 - getting read.jpgTim was much happier back on the field level.  So we waited for the start of the game (and confirmation that Griffey would not be playing).

Seeing Griff play and getting a chance to witness No. 600 was the entire reason we attended this week-night game.  With our hopes and dreams for the night spoiled (he would not even pinch hit), we needed to make the night special in some other way.

So, sitting behind Section 137 at Citizens Bank Park, we started a grand tradition…

5 - first ice cream helmet.jpg…we shared Tim’s first ever ice cream helmet!!!

Do you notice there is an extra spoon in the helmet?  This being Tim’s first ice cream helmet, he had not yet realized they were too good to share with his dear old dad.

I’d been watching the Reds pretty regularly for 8 seasons by this point (solely to watch Griff), so I was pretty familiar with their team.  While standing down the LF foul line in Section 137, it was a straight shot out to Adam Dunn.

6 - Dunn Griffs Cinci Buhner.jpg

In Griffey’s world, Dunn was to the Reds what Buhner was to the Mariners:  Griff’s friend and big Texan power hitting neighbor in the outfield.

That last picture was taken in the bottom of the first inning and the Phils were already getting business started.  After Shane Victorino singled with one out, Chase Utley staked the Phillies to a 2-0 lead with a 2-run homerun.

For about an inning and a half, it was as if there was no game being played at all.

7 - serious about ice cream.jpgTim was lost in the chocolate-vanilla swirled goodness of his first ice cream helmet.

After Tim finished his ice cream, we headed over to the home plate area, a little off toward first base, so we could get a peak into the Reds dugout…


9 - no griff in there.jpg…we couldn’t find Griff in there.  Yep, on the Griff-front, the night was a total bust.  But we had fun nonetheless.

Tim loves the kids playset at Citizens Bank Park.  In the 18 MLB ballparks Tim and I have visited, I’m pretty sure that it is objectively the best play area…

10 - phils playset.jpg…at some point, I always find Tim cranking on that wheel up on the second level.

By the way, for perspective for anyone who hasn’t visited Citizens Bank Park, those steel beams above Tim in that picture are supporting the winding walk way up to the upper deck where Tim was pictured above with Lincoln Financial Field in the background.  The play area is just to the outfield side of the main 1B side entrance to Citizen Bank Park.

Back to the game, in the top of the 4th inning, as Tim played in the play area, I watched on the Dads’ flatscreen TV as rookie Jay Bruce (the man who was playing RF in Griffey’s place) hit his third career homerun in this third career game.

We headed back out to the field level for the bottom of the 4th in time to see Pedro Feliz (2-run) and Chris Coste (solo) hit back-to-back homeruns off of Bronson Arroyo…

12 - hooray and cotton candy.jpg…Tim cheered on as he ate cotton candy (it was a high calorie night for Cook & Son), as the Phillies took a 5-1 lead. 

Late in the game, Tim wanted to play around in the field level concourse.  I snapped this picture of him hiding in a steel beam…

13 - hiding in the beams.jpg

…he always enjoys standing in these things at Citizens Bank Park.  He enjoys the little things in life.

We also ran into three nice ushers out in the concourse who each gave Tim a little souvenir:  a Philly Phanatic figurine, a little wood baseball bat keychain, and a Cole Hamels baseball card that was magically pulled from behind Tim’s ear.

Between a solo shot by Juan “Fireworks” Encarnacion in the fifth and a 2-run double by Dunn in the sixth, the Reds would score three more runs on the night, but Coste’s homerun would be enough for the Phillies.  In the bottom of the ninth, Brad Lidge nailed down the save 1-2-3 with two strike outs.  On June 2nd, Lidge’s ERA was still only 0.75.

Over the next two days, without Tim, I’d make two more efforts at witnessing Griff’s 600th homerun.  But he rode the bench both days.  His knee was still bothering him.  He pinch hit late in each game and walked twice on a combined 9 pitches.  I only saw him swing the bat once between the two games.  Both at-bats were incredibly intense.  The whole stadium was on its feet.  Philadelphia fans can be rude and crude and mean.  But I was extremely proud of them at these games.  They understood they had the chance to see history and I think a lot of them wanted it to happen despite the fact it would have been terrible for the Phillies in both games.  At the end of the final game of the series (the only game I didn’t attend and the only one Griffey played), the entire stadium gave Griffey a standing ovation.

Sadly, he went on to hit his 600th homerun in South Florida before a pathetic and heartless crowd.  It should have happened before one of those great sell-out crowds in Philadelphia, but at least his wife and kids were able to be there for the historic blast in Florida.

Camden Yards B.Y.O.I.C.H. (10-4-09)

Now, I realize that the title of this entry looks a little risque.  But I assure you it it not.  Read on and eventually you’ll see what its all about. 

On October 4 – the final day of the regular season (for everyone except the Twins and Tigers), Tim and I headed down to Camden Yards for our final game of what has been an outstanding 2009 season.

It was sad to think it was all coming to an end, already.  As we drove south, there was evidence of the end of baseball.  The “This Is Birdland” billboard off of Route 83 in York, PA — gone.  It has been there all season.  Worse yet, the Birdland billboards in Baltimore itself were also gone.  Finally, all season every street in downtown Baltimore had been adorned with numerous Orioles lamp-top signs.  All gone.  Sad.

So, here we were in Baltimore, closing out our in-person baseball season on the final Sunday of the season in the same place we had opened our in-person baseball season back in April on the first Sunday of the 2009 season.

Tim and I have seen a lot of great things and created a lot of great memories this season.  I was ready for one more day of it, but wishing there would be more.

Our first peak down Eutaw Street revealed some stadium attendants readying this beautiful baseball venue for one more hoorah before the off-season:


1 - readying for final game of 2009.jpgWe arrived early for batting practice.  But when we arrived I figured out that I had mistakenly thought it was a 1:05 start.  In fact, it was a 1:35 start and the stadium wasn’t even open yet.  So we had some time to kill before the gates opened at 11:35.

No problem.  Every time we’d visited Baltimore this season, I’d wanted to get a picture of Tim with the Babe Ruth statue.  Now, we finally  had some free time to do so:


2 - bambino and tim.jpgNext, Tim raced around a lot before deciding to pose with some of the retired Orioles numbers:


3 - o's numbers and tim trophy.jpgNotice how there is no “8″ in the bottom right picture?  About a month or two ago, four teenagers decided it would be a great idea to steal Ripken’s “8.”  It was all caught on camera and they were caught red-handed a short time after taking the “8.”  I was surprised it still had not beeen restored to its normal spot.

In my pictures this season, I’ve shown a lot of views of the warehouse from the field area.  It looks like a long brick building from there.  But you can’t tell how deep of a building it is.  So, I took this picture from outside the CF gate that shows the warehouse isn’t very wide:


4 - end of warehouse.jpgWhen they finally let us into the stadium, we found there was no BP.  I guess it wasn’t a huge shock.   It was a Sunday day game and the last game of the season and both teams were long since eliminated.  But, still, I thought they might hit just because it would make the fans happy.  No dice.

Despite no BP, they still had the stadium closed off except for season ticket holders who were free to go into the stadium to not watch BP:


5 - season ticket holders no BP entrance.jpgSo, we headed to our seats in section 90, straight away CF.  On the way, I took a panaramic view from a couple sections over from our seats:


6 - camden CF section 94 panaramica.jpgAnd I took this view from our seats.  Section 90, Row A, Seats 1-2 — very nice:


7 - camden CF section 90 row A seat 1 panaramic.jpgFinally, they opened the rest of the stadium. Tim hopped up on my shoulders and we walked the main field level aisle to take in the scenes of Camden Yards.  Here is our view as we approached home plate:


8 - camden plate 1B foul field panaramic.jpgAnd just for kicks, another view from about 50 feet away from the last view:


9 - camden plate 1B foul field pre-game panarama.jpgSome Blue Jays pitchers congregated down the 3B line to play catch…


10 - league accardo.jpg…the guy closest to us in the picture above to the left is Brandon Leauge.  Tim and I walked up to the railing and Tim yelled, “HI, ICHIRO!  Can I have that baseball?”  I explained that League wasn’t Ichiro.  Tim asked where Ichiro was.  Not here, unfortunately.

A few minutes later, Jeremy Accardo (pictured above to the right) walked by on his way to the dugout.  He walked up to us and pulled a ball out of his back pocket and handed it to Tim.

“Thanks, Jeremy!”

Then he proceeded down the baseline and started signing autographs by the end of the Jays’ bullpen.  With ball still in hand, Tim followed Accardo all the way down the line.  I followed along and grabbed a sharpie out of my backpack.  I told Tim to get up to the front of the group and ask Accardo to sign the ball he’d just given Tim.  Tim got up to the front and set the ball and sharpie on the top of the fence and then he uttered one of his funniest lines of the season:

“Excuse me, can you scribble on my ball?”

Accardo and the entire group of autograph seekers broke into laugher.  Accardo scribbled on Tim’s ball.

Then we headed to the kids’ play area.  First, Tim heated up the gun on the kids’ speed pitch:


11 - give em the heater rickey.jpgNext, he hit the bouncy house…


12 - final bouncy housing of 2009.jpg…usually the bouncy house is packed.  But it was only Tim and that little girl for a while. No one was in line so they got to bounce for a long time.  Eventually, the girl grabbed onto Tim’s leg and took him down like a freestyle wrestler.  Tim fell to the ground and complained to his tormentor:

“Don’t play with me.  I’m not a toy!”

As game time approached, we headed back to the field and watched the grounds crew chalk the batters box:


13 - readying the field.jpgThen we headed out to the team store.  On the way out there, I took this picture:


14 - smile for the team store.jpgFinally, it was game time and we headed to our seats.  We were right on the railing by the batters eye.  Check out all of the grass they’ve transplanted from the batters eye area to fix grass on the field:


15 - field patch grass.jpgTo took the picture below to the left showing the field and the railing separating the crowd from the batters eye…


16 - camden vines.jpg…Tim took a close up of the ivy vines on the railing.

Wow — somehow I put this picture totally out of place.  But check out how wide open and empty the concourse was behind 3B…


17 - big open and empty 3B concourse.jpg…the only bad thing about Camden Yards is that you cannot see the field from the concourse.

Back to our seats in CF, I took this action shot of Ricky Romero striking out (I think) Brian Roberts:


18 - romero to roberts.jpg…see the red arrow?  It is pointing to the seat I’d be sitting in to end our in-person baseball season.  See the guy in the seat in front of the red arrowed-seat?  After each pitch, he presses a button that flashes up on a little screen a description of the pitch (i.e., 92 M.P.H. fastball).

For the second weekend in a row, we were sitting behind Vernon Wells… 


19 - vernon wells.jpg…this game was much more relaxing for Vernon because no one was yelling at him that he hasn’t earned his multi-million dollar contract.

If you’ve been following this blog this season, you know that Camden Yards is the only stadium we’ve ever visited that doesn’t have ice cream helmets.  Since early June I’d had an idea and I finally implimented it at this game…


20 - Camden Yards BYOICH.jpg…Camden Yards:  Bring Your Own Ice Cream Helmet.

I wanted to do this in late June when we saw the Nationals in Baltimore, but I forgot the helmet at home somehow.

It was pretty cool to be scraffing down a Seattle Mariners ice cream helmet in Baltimore.  And, I’m pretty sure that Tim is the only person to have an ice cream helmet in Baltimore this season.  That’s pretty cool to say.  But, I hope that thousands of people get the joy of eating an ice cream helmet at this classic ballpark next season.

By the way, this was an excellent ice cream helmet.  Real strawberry ice cream with chunks of strawberries and sprinkles.  Delicious.

After his ice cream helmet, Tim asked to go to his favorite spot, the flag pavillion.  On the way, he posed for this picture at the top of section 90:


21 - catching the game from CF.jpg…please excuse the strawberry ice cream reminants on Tim’s Ichiro shirt.

Tim loves the flag pavillion…


22 - tim in flags.jpg…it is great for running around and playing fake baseball games.

This was our view from over the RF wall…


23 - camden RF flag panarama.jpg…we were out toward the CF side because the wall is lower on that side.  Down by the RF foul pole, the fence is about a foot taller, it seems, and you have to stand right at the fence to see over it.  In CF, you can stand back a little bit and still see the action.

Tim decided that the big diamond shaped pattern on the ground was a baseball field, and the dark corners were bases…


24 - fake game in flag pavillion.jpg…we played a lot of fake baseball there.

In the picture to the top left, Tim is sitting in the “dugout.”  After a few seconds, he yelled “Now batting, Roehner” (fyi, Roehner is Tim’s imaginary pro-baseball player friend).   Then he jumped up (top right) and ran toward the home plate corner of the pattern and said, “Yay, I’m up.”  It was pretty cute.

I’ve taken a lot of pictures of this awesome park, but I realized I’d never taken a panaramic view of the Eutaw Street warehouse.  Well, here you go:


25 - camden warehouse panaramic.jpgAnd here is a view from Eutaw Street looking into the flag pavillion:


26 - camden flag pavillion panarama.jpgWhile out on Eutaw Street, we looked for all of the Mariners home run markers.  There were only two:


27 - griffey bomb.jpgOh, yeah, my man Ken Griffey, Jr. can hit some BOMBS!  The one on the left is the only ball to ever hit the warehouse on the fly.  (Yes, I’ve included a picture of this before, but who cares, its worth a second, third, or fifteenth picture, so don’t count on this being the last).

Late in the game, we headed behind home plate and hung out in prime foul ball territory — above the main cross aisle.  This was our view:


28 - camden plate above aisle big shadow panarama.jpgAs I sat in the back row watching the game, Tim took about 100 pictures.

In this picture, Tim is looking down into the main aisle taking rapid fire pictures of people walking by:


29 - rapid fire fan cam.jpg…it was pretty cool to watch a slide show of Tim’s cross aisle pictures (but I won’t bore you with them).

Here are a few of my favorite shots Tim took toward the end of the game:


30 - tims picts.jpgTop left, Tim’s view from his perch on my shoulders (you can see he is looking over my shoulders).  Top right, Tim took a shot of some writers in the press box.  Bottom right, this cute little fan waved up to Tim as he was taking his rapid fire fan shots (it was hilarious when this picture came up in the sequence of his fan shots).  Bottom left, I’m filling up Tim’s travel water cup (actually a baby’s sippy cup) at the water fountain out beyond RF.

Back to our foul ball spot behind the plate, here is a panaramic view:


31 - good shot by tim.jpgAnd here is a shot Tim took of me sitting in the back row (see how the press box is right behind me):


32 - daddy watching on.jpgThen Tim and I took pictures of each other taking pictures of each other:


33 - picture-in-picture.jpg…Tim’s camera is my old camera.  It has problems in bright light (it gets blury), but its perfect for Tim.  He loves it.

As the ninth inning approached, I asked Tim if he wanted to go down behind home plate and see if the umpire would give us a ball at the end of the game.  Of course, he did.  So, we found some great seats in the 8th row off of the umpires’ tunnel.  Here was the view:


34 - camden plate 8th row panaramic.jpgOur season was almost over, so I was getting picture happy, and I took one of us fooling around in the seats:


34a - another picture why not.jpgAnd I took a picture of the Blue Jays dugout:


35 - jays dugout.jpgAnd, as the game went into extra innings (free bonus baseball!), I took some action shots of pitches approaching home plate:


36 - action behind plate.jpgAnd I got one of Luke Scott hitting a ground ball…


37 - lukes not hit.jpg…and getting thrown out at 1B.

The game went into the bottom of the 11th inning still tied 3-3.  The Blue Jays brought in Brandon League to try to shut down the O’s for one more inning.  Big mistake.  The first batter got a solid base hit.  The second batter laid down a nice sacrifice bunt.  League fielded it near 1B and *shot put* over the head of the first basemen for an E-1.  With runners on first and second and no one out, the third batter laid down another sacrifice bunt.  Again, League fielded it.  Again, League threw it away.  This time he spiked it into the dirt in front of 1B.  It went by whoever was covering 1B and squibbed into shallow RF.  The lead off batter scored easily from 2B.  And that was it.  Season over for the O’s and Jays.

And it was “go time” as far as trying to get our final umpire ball (and final ball period) of the 2009 season.  One piece of background here.  During the 9th or 10th inning, Tim yelled “Umpire can I have a ball?” during a break between half-innings.  The umpire looked up at Tim, but had no expression on his face.  Still, I thought he had heard Tim.

Now, back to the end of the game.  We were in the 8th row on the 1B side of the umpire tunnel.  We couldn’t get any lower because there were people in every other row — mostly adults, but a few kids at the very bottom.  But right when the third out was recorded about 10,000 kids flooded the first row.  I figured there was no chance for us to get an umpire ball in the 8th row.

Triple-A call-up umpire Todd Tichenor walked through the gate and emptied his baseball bags into his umpire’s mask.  He had about 6 balls, it seemed.  He stopped in the first row and gave them all out to screaming little kids.  I figured the deal was done.  No umpire ball.

Then Tichenor started walking into the tunnel.  He walked directly below us.  Tim and I were peering over the brick wall and I said, “Hey, do you have one more ball for my son?”  Without looking up, Tichenor stopped directly in front of us.  His right hand reached into the bag attached to his right hip and pulled out *the final umpire ball of Camden Yards 2009 season* and lofted it directly up to us.

“THANK YOU, BLUE!”

 Tim got all excited when he looked at the baseball and saw the MLB batter logo on the ball.  “Daddy, there is a Mariner on my ball!”  A few minutes later he would add, “When I was a baby, I didn’t realize there were Mariners on the baseballs.”  That gave me a chuckle.

Sadly, we started to make out way out of the stadium for the final time in 2009.  Just then, we saw the Oriole’s Bird signing autographs down the 1B line.  We made our way to the front of the line and got a high five and a very serious looking picture with the Bird:


38 - tim and bird.jpgThen Tim posed with his 37th and final ball of the season…


39 - final game final ball of 2009.jpg…and we made out way out to Eutaw Street to walk to our car.

As we approached CF, we looked back toward the field.  The gates to the OF seats were locked up, and we could see the Bird heading into the umpire’s tunnel for the final time of the 2009 season…

 


the bird is out of here.jpg…the end of the season had officially arrived in Baltimore.

We took one last picture on our way out of Camden Yards:


40 - final picture - goodbye 2009.jpgAnd then it was over.

But wait, when we arrived home, I watched the Mariners beat the Rangers for finish with 85 wins and a grand celebration on the field after the game.  It was an awesome end to the Mariners season.

Bring on 2010!

Season Fan Stats:

 

32 Games (plus one 5+ hour rain out with no game)
1 Ken Griffey, Jr. Homerun
(Career Homerun No. 624, August 23, 2009 in Cleveland)

13 Stadiums (Safeco Field, Camden Yards, Citizens Bank Park, Citi Field, Nationals Park, Yankee Stadium, Fenway Park, Wrigley Field, HHH Metrodome, Miller Park, U.S. Cellular, “Jacobs” Field, and Rogers Centre)
25 Teams (Mariners, A’s, Rangers, Rays, Orioles, Tigers, Twins, Indians, Red Sox, Yankees, Royals, White Sox, Blue Jays, Phillies, Mets, Nationals, Cubs, Braves, Padres, Dodgers, Cardinals, Marlins, Pirates, Astros, and Brewers — and sort of the Giants)
27 Ice Cream Helmets (Mariners (5), Phillies (5), Mets, Nationals (3), Red Sox (3), Yankees (2), Twins, Cubs, Brewers, White Sox, Indians, and Blue Jays (and 1 Brewers Cheese Fries Helmet))
37 Baseballs (20 Mariners, 3 Umpire, 3 Astros, 2 Rangers, 1 Phillies, 1 Red Sox, 1 Nationals, 1 Pirates, 1 Twins, 1 Royals, 1 Indians, Yankees/Orioles 1, 1 Blue Jays)
MLB Closed Out (NL Closed out on 8/16/09, AL Closed out on 8/17/09) 
6 Autographs (King Felix Hernandez, Ryan Rowland-Smith, Jason Phillips, Ronny Cedeno, Aaron Hill, Jeremy Guthrie, Ryan Perry, Jeremy Accardo) 
5 Player/G.M. Photographs (King Felix Hernandez, Ryan Rowland-Smith, Jason Phillips, Jack Zduriencik, Ryan Perry) 
10 Mascot Pictures (Mariners Moose, Orioles Bird, Slider (Indians), 3 Presidents (Nats), Screech (Nats), 4 Running Sausages (Brewers) – Honorable Mention: The Green Monster statue bench)

 

Up Next:  Cook & Son’s 2009 Season-In-Review Wrap Up

“The Yankees Are Bossy” (9-19-09)

My mom, Colleen, Tim and I were in the car driving to Safeco Field to see the Mariners take on the Yankees when Tim turned to me and proclaimed:

“Dad, the Yankees are bossy.”

Indeed.

Well, actually…in the three games Tim has seen the Yankees play in his life, the Yankees haven’t been very bossy.  We’ve seen the Mariners beat the Yankees twice and the Orioles just a couple weeks ago beat the Yanks too.  So, really, the Yankees have been pretty accomodating in the games we’ve seen them play.

We were hoping they would be similarly accomodating at this game.

We had four excellent seats in section 151 (left field).  But, I also had my best buddy Paul’s two tickets in section 123 (just a couple rows back from the Mariners’ dugout).  Paul was at a family get-together and was hoping to meet up with us later in the game.  He never made it.

We arrived just before game time.  After watching the Yankees bat in the top of the first, Tim and I grabbed an ice cream helmet (mint chocoloate chip and chocolate fudge chip) and headed over to Paul’s seats in time to watch Ichiro lead off the bottom of the first… 

1 - ichiro.jpg…he would draw a walk.

 Tim was very protective of his ice cream:

2 - dont look at my ice cream.jpgThis is his, “I know you’re looking at my ice cream, don’t even think about, I’m not sharing” look.  And, true to his look, he did not share.

Two more notes about that picture.  First, I don’t like it when teams leave a big huge bar code on the side of the ice cream helmets.  We haven’t received many bar-coded helmets.  Mostly in Philadelphia.  Before this week, we’d never received a bar-coded helmet at Safeco Field.  And I hope we never do again.

Second, that guy in the white hat sitting behind Tim was pretty hilarious.  He and this buddies were all decked out in Washington Husky gear.  Just a couple hours prior, the Huskies had taken down my dad’s alma mater, the No. 3 ranked USC Trojans.  (FYI, in college football, I root for my Temple Owls (GO OWLS!) and then the entire Pac-10.  In conference play, I root for the UW, followed by WSU (my brother’s alma mater), followed by USC (dad), followed by whichever team is located closest to Seattle.  But in the grand scheme of things, the Mariners are the only team I truly care about in any sport).

Anyway, as I was saying, that guy was pretty funny.  He kept yelling at all of the Yankees (particularly C.C. Sabbathia) and saying he was going to buy them dinner at various fast food restaurants if they continued to strike out (Yankees batters) or give up hits (Sabbathia).  He was going to take them to McDonald’s, Burger King, Taco Time, Papa Murphy’s, Red Lobster, etc., etc.

Enough about that guy, here is the view from Paul’s amazingly awesome seats:

3 - safeco pauls seats panaramic.jpgPaul’s family has split season tickets with another guy (Louie) who has had the tickets since 1977 (the M’s first season, and the year Paul was born).  In the Kingdome, Paul’s seats were even closer (third row, I believe) but they crammed a few extra super-expensive rows in front of his seats at Safeco Field.  The tickets are row 14, but I think they are only about 5-8 rows back from the dugout.

All of my action shots were coming out blurry at this game, but I got some good “batting stance” shots.  Here is Jose Lopez: 

4 - jose lopez.jpgI like Jose.  He’s good.

And here is Adrian Beltre… 

5 - beltre.jpg…he hit a double on this pitch, but my swinging shot and rounding first shot are both horribly blurry.

Hey, guess who stopped by our section?  It was the Beer Poet: 

6 - beer poet.jpgI can’t recall any of his poems, but essentially he says a lot of stuff like this:

“An evening at the ballpark, such a special treat.  Nothing makes it better than a cold beer while you sit in your seat.”

His actual poems are moderately better than that, but you got the gist of it.

Young gun Doug Fister was on the mound…

7 - fister.jpg…but unforunately he was shooting blanks on this night.

In the second inning, someone or other bunted the ball off of Kenji Johjima…

8 - johjima hit by bunt.jpg…it was an odd play, and Kenji was down for a few minutes.

During the top of the third, we headed out to CF to the play area, and I took this panaramic view as we passed behind the RF foul pole:

9 - safeco RF concourse panaramic.jpgHey, check out who was out at the play area:

10 - with colleen in playarea.jpgTim only played a little bit before we headed back to section 151 to meet up with my mom.  Here was my view from section 151, row 34, seat 1:

11 - safeco section 151 panaramic.jpgRow 34 is only about 5 rows back from the LF wall, directly down the line behind the hand-operated scoreboard.

We got two big batches of Jim’s garlic fries…

12 - Jim's Garlic Fries.jpg…and Tim ate a bunch of them before he decided that garlic is “too spicy.”

It was about time for Tim to act silly in the seats: 

13 - all smiles.jpgAnd then it was time for some more “spicy” garlic fries… 

14 - with grandma and garlic fries.jpgThat is Tim’s official “garlic is too spicy” face.  As for me, I’m a huge fan of garlic.  And these fries we ridiculously (in a good way) garlicy.  This wasn’t garlic powder or garlic flavoring.  This was full on mashed up and diced garlic bits.  I think each of our orders of fries had about 5 entire garlic bulbs on ‘em.  When all of the fries were gone, there was still an entire hand full of diced up garlic bits in each little cardboard tray.  I tried to eat all of the garlic in one of the trays, but I failed.  It would have made my head explode.  Too spicy.

Back to the game.  As I mentioned, Fister wasn’t on top of his game.  So, Don Wakamatsu pulled him before too long: 

15 - pulling fister and pauls seats.jpgSee the red outline in that picture?  Those are Paul’s seats as some non-ticketed dude prepares to take advantage of Paul’s absence.

Speaking of Paul, I bet you’re wondering what he looks like, right?  Well, you could look back at my entries from May when we went to a couple games together.  But it would be a whole lot easier if I just posted this:

 

griff-paul-kevin.JPGThat’s Paul in the middle, to the right is Paul’s brother Kevin, and to the left?  Well, that’s none other than future Hall of Famer, Ken Griffey, Jr.

Once again, back to the game.  It was a cool but pleasant night at the ball park.  But late in the game, a few rain drops started to fall.  The powers that be decided it was time for some indoor baseball.  The following photos are very dark but they show the roof starting to creep across the field toward the 3B line:

16 - roof approaches.jpgAnd the next set of pictures show the roof approaching and passing the LF foul pole:

17 - indoor foul pole.jpgMark Teixeira was having good night at the plate, and the Mariners bats and pitchers weren’t doing too much.  So Tim had to get creative in the seats.  He decided to do some fake fishing.  Here he is walking up from row 33 to row 35 holding a fake fishing pole (note that for some reason he is bare footed…he likes to feel right at home at the park):

18 - fishing in section 151.jpgHe would stand on the stairs in row 35 and cast his fake fishing line down toward the OF wall.

Late in the game we ran around in the OF concourse a bit.  And that is where we were when the Yankees recorded the 27th out in the bottom of the ninth.  Aye, aye, aye…I was hoping Tim would never have to see the Yankees win a game in his life.  Oh, well, I need to come to grips with the fact that I can’t protect him for every bad thing that might happen in life.

We have one more Mariners game this season.  And with a win, the Mariners will finish the season with a winning record at games attended by me and Tim.  Let’s do it M’s!!!

One more comment on the Yankees.  This is the first time I’ve seen the Yankees play a game outside of Yankee Stadium since August 24, 1995.  I attended that game with Paul.  That game is widely recognized as the turning point in the Mariners season, after which they made a hard charge past the California Angels of Anaheim.  The Mariners were 11.5 games back at the time.  And in the 8th inning, the Mariners were losing 7-5.  In the 8th, Edgar Martinez hit a home run off of David Cone to make it 7-6 Yankees.

But the Mariners had been perenial losers.  The first two batters made quick outs in the bottom of the ninth.  Paul and I started to give up on the game.  In fact, we decided to leave and try to beat traffic.  But as we were walking out, Vince Coleman drew a walk from John Wetteland (now Mariners bullpen coach).  Paul and I started thinking about things.  Junior could get another at-bat!  We sprinted back to Paul’s seats (you know, the one’s I mentioned above, the ones 3 rows behind the 1B dugout).  As Joey Cora, battled Wetteland, Coleman stole 2B and 3B.  Cora then lined a single to LF to score Coleman and tie the game.

Up to the the plate sauntered Ken Griffey, Jr.  He would see only one pitch.  And we would see that pitch land in the upper deck in RF.  MARINERS WIN!!!

Twenty-five days later, the Mariners had erased the Angels’ 11.5 game lead.  Ultimately, the Mariners would beat the Angels in a one game playoff to claim their first ever A.L. West title.

So you ask what is the point of that long story?  Well, back in 1995, we watched the Mariners beat the Yankees in Seattle free of the presence of hordes of Yankees fans.  You see, the Yankees hadn’t been very good for a while.  They had not made the post-season since 1981.  And they didn’t have the massive traveling fan base that now accompanies them everywhere they go (and the hordes of bandwagon *fans*).  At least they didn’t have them in Seattle.

It was a much more pleasant way to watch a home Mariners game.  I live on the east coast and I see the Mariners on the road more than I see them at home.  So, I like my Mariners home games to feel like Mariners home games.  All this is to say that, this is likely my last Yankees game in Seattle.

By the way, don’t fear, the next day the Mariners would crush the Yankees to take the series 2-1.  Griffey would hit a bomb.

Anyway, on our walk to the car, I took a shot of the Seahawk’s stadium, Qwest Field:

19 - qwest field.jpgQwest Field sits on hallowed grounds — the site of the Kingdome.  I really wish Safeco Field could have been placed on the Kingdome’s site.  But it couldn’t happen.  The Mariners needed to play in the Kingdome until Safeco Field was ready to open in July 1999.  The Seahawks on the other hand, got an upgrade, they played at Husky Stadium while Qwest Field was being built.  Husky Stadium is probably better than Qwest Field.

One final note, the day after this game, we flew back into Philadelphia.  As we were driving out of the Philadelphia airport, Tim again told me that the Yankees are “bossy,” and he added that they “cheat.”  I told him that was not very nice of the Yankees.  But then, he told me that the Yankees called him on the telephone and apologized.  So, I guess that was considerate of the Yankees.

Season Fan Stats:

30 Games (plus one 5+ hour rain out with no game)
1 Ken Griffey, Jr. Homerun
(Career Homerun No. 624, August 23, 2009 in Cleveland)

12 Stadiums (Safeco Field, Camden Yards, Citizens Bank Park, Citi Field, Nationals Park, Yankee Stadium, Fenway Park, Wrigley Field, HHH Metrodome, Miller Park, U.S. Cellular, and “Jacobs” Field)
24 Teams (Mariners, A’s, Rangers, Rays, Orioles, Tigers, Twins, Indians, Red Sox, Yankees, Royals, White Sox, Phillies, Mets, Nationals, Cubs, Braves, Padres, Dodgers, Cardinals, Marlins, Pirates, Astros, and Brewers — and sort of the Giants)

25 Ice Cream Helmets (Mariners (5), Phillies (5), Mets, Nationals (3), Red Sox (3), Yankees (2), Twins, Cubs, Brewers, White Sox, and Indians (and 1 Brewers Cheese Fries Helmet))
28 Baseballs (16 Mariners, 2 Rangers, 1 Phillies, 1 Red Sox, 1 Umpire, 1 Nationals, 1 Pirates, 1 Twins, 1 Astros, 1 Royals, 1 Indians, Yankees/Orioles 1) 
MLB Closed Out (NL Closed out on 8/16/09, AL Closed out on 8/17/09) 
5 Autographs (King Felix Hernandez, Jason Phillips, Ronny Cedeno, Jeremy Guthrie, Ryan Perry) 
4 Player/G.M. Photographs (King Felix Hernandez, Jason Phillips, Jack Zduriencik, Ryan Perry) 
10 Mascot Pictures (Mariners Moose, Orioles Bird, Slider (Indians), 3 Presidents (Nats), Screech (Nats), 4 Running Sausages (Brewers) – Honorable Mention: The Green Monster statue bench)

Tim’s Third MLB Anniversary (9-12-2009)

“Hello, from Yankee Stadium!”

1 - magic floating tim and yankee stadium.jpg

Tim’s first MLB game of his life was on September 12, 2006.  Our Mariners beat the Blue Jays at Safeco Field.  It was wonderful.  Exactly one year later, we found ourselves at Citizens Bank Park watching the Rockies dismantle the Phillies.  It wasn’t a pre-planned game.  We’d received four (amazing) free tickets.  It was a couple innings into the game before I realized it was September 12, 2007:  the one-year anniversary of Tim’s first game.  That was all I needed.  A new tradition was born.  Now, I fully intend to attend a MLB game with Tim on September 12th every year for the rest of my life.  
 2 - 86th and C-Train.jpg

Last season, we spent Tim’s second MLB anniversary at Chase Field watching the Griffey-less Reds taken on the Diamondbacks with my mom and dad.

This season, after much internal debate, we found ourselves in New York City for our second game at the new Yankee Stadium.  The Orioles were in town. 

The big debate was whether we should go to this game or the Mets at Citizens Bank Park.  Both games were sold out (or at least sold out of reasonably priced tickets (i.e., we can’t afford the Legends Suite at Yankee Stadium)).  We opted for two single tickets (one in the bleachers and one in the upper deck) for $20 each at Yankee Stadium rather than two Standing Room tickets for $30 each (twice face value) at Citizens Bank Park.

Of course, after J.A. Happ was scratched and Jamie Moyer was named the starter in Philadelphia, I was second guessing my decision.  But thanks to a blown 9th inning save by Ryan Madson erasing Moyer’s win, I definitely made the right decision.

As you will see below, we had a GREAT time in the Bronx.  It was a very enjoyable game featuring an outstanding Yankees loss.  Yea!

A little background for the pictures that follow.  I am NOT a Yankees fan.  I’m about as NOT a Yankees fan as anyone in the world.  But, I generally take photos at games of the “stars” — certainly, if there is a *no doubt* future hall of famer playing, my M.O. is to photograph them playing.  I really haven’t done that with the Yankees in the past, because I’ve only seen them play against the Mariners or the Reds (with Griffey) and I had more important things to photograph.

But today was different.  No Mariners (unfortunately).  No Griffey (fortunately, he’d be 1000s of miles away going 3-4 for the Mariners).  And the Orioles aren’t exactly *stacked* with photo-worthy talent.

So, I was left almost forced to photograph the top Yankees.  My apologies.  Please do not mistake what follows as any endorsement of the Steinbrenner-led Yankees.

We got an early start to NYC and expected to make it to some of batting practice.  However, after experiencing terrible traffic and parking situations, we ultimately arrived late.  As we entered the stadium, Derek Jeter was stepping into the box in the bottom of the first: 

3 - jeter career hit 2723.jpg

gehrig sandlots.jpgWhen Jeter planted his foot in the picture to the left, he would watch his 2,723 hit scoot through the infield.  This guy has been in the news a lot lately.  The day before, he’d passed Lou Gehrig on the Yankees all-time hit list.  A Yankee setting a new Yankee record means nothing to me.  But I wanted Jeter to go hitless on 9/11 so we could be there for his record breaking hit.  Not because I have any fondness for Jeter, but because I’ve liked Lou Gehrig ever since I read the book “Lou Gehrig: Boy of the Sandlots” when I was in third grade.  In fact, I did a book report on that same book in 3rd, 4th and 5th grades  And, I actually read the book each time.  Anyway, Jeter eclipsed Gehrig’s mark the day before we arrived at Yankee Stadium.

While Jeter was batting.  Tim stood on the empty riser pictured below…

4 - very special riser-stay off.jpg…while I took those photos.  Within 2 minutes, an usher spotted us and came over to kick Tim off of the riser.  Its a very important riser.  So, if you go to Yankee Stadium and see it sitting there empty, don’t even think of utilizing it in any fashion.  It is not for you.

Jeter ended up stealing second.  He then got to third…hmm…somehow.  Mark Teixeira then lifted this pitch… 

5 - teixeira sac fly to CF scores jeter.jpg…to CF for a sacrifice fly scoring Jeter.  Much to my delight, that would cap the Yankee scoring until the bottom of the 9th with two outs.

And, A-Rod’s double on this swing… 

6 - a-roid 2B for career hit 2514.jpgwould be meaningless and do no harm.

After the bottom of the first concluded, we walked through Bronx Central Station (also known as the Great Hall):

7 - bronx central station.jpg

After taking the picture above on the left, I spun around 360 degrees and took the picture above on the right.  In the name of exploring the unknown, we then followed the crowd up the stairs to the second deck.

Before moving on, did you notice anything special in those Great Hall pictures?

8 - backpacks allowed.jpgHere it is:

A backpack inside Yankee Stadium!!!

It appears the Yankees have re-tooled their illogical no-backpack policy.

For the record, it was illogical because, under the no backpack policy, that lady still could have brought that big bag over her shoulder into the stadium.

Of course, I didn’t know about the change.  So I had a little string backpack, once again — like back on July 2nd.

Back to the story.

We proceeded up those stairs.  I didn’t know where they would lead.   I didn’t see any naturual light (so as to suggest a view of the field) at the top.  So I wondered it it lead to the suite level, where we would not be permitted to venture.  Luckily, it didn’t.  It just lead to the second deck.

Once we got up there.  I took Tim to the bathroom and sat him on the counter while I put on his shoes.  (He’d just been wearing socks up to this point).  While I was digging through my little string backpack bag, I experienced an extremely non-at-the-ballparkish moment.

Tim saw a bag of sun flower seeds amongst our stuff and he asked for some.  I obliged.  Then, he started spitting seeds on the ground.  Can you believe it!?  Spitting seeds on the ground in the bathroom at Yankee Stadium!   I instantly had this bad feeling like we were going to get busted.  Of course, we did not.  But I guarantee I never would have had that feeling at any other ballpark.  I think the mere fact I had that concern speaks to the feel at Yankee Stadium.

 After putting on Tim’s shoes.  We hung out in the standing room area behind the second deck seats.  This was the view:

2a - bronx 3B second deck panaramic.jpgIt was a great spot.  I really enjoyed watching the game from this vantage point.  What would have made it better would be if they installed some standing counter space behind the last row of seats.  I didn’t see any standing counter space anywhere in the stadium at this game.  Installing some would make the standing room experience a lot better.

For a few minutes, we stood right next to a cop and an usher, and we didn’t get reprimanded when Tim started doing this:

9 - flying seed.jpg

[NOTE:  there is a seed that Tim just spit out floating in mid-air just to the left of Tim's neck].

In fact, I think that female cop actually thought it was cute watching Tim spit seeds all over the relatively clean concourse floor.

The Orioles scored 6 runs in the top of the second!  Nolan Reimold and Brian Roberts both crushed homeruns.  Roberts’s bomb was actually a grand slam.  I didn’t get any shots of either of those guys hitting.  But here is a shot of the Yankees infield with one of the 6 Orioles to make his way around the base paths that inning:

10 - infield action.jpgWe only stood by the cop and usher for a few minutes because Tim decided that we should do some racing.  Then he started running all over the place:

11 - speed racer in the concourse.jpgI ran back and forth with him 2-3 times, then I just observed as he continued racing against himself.  In the picture to the right, that black line across the concourse floor (at his elbow level) was used both as Tim’s start line and his finish line.

 Finally, an Oriole who I thought was interesting enough to photograph came to the plate:

12 - markakis grounds to jeter.jpgOn this swing, Nick Markakis grounded out to Jeter.

Between innings, Tim wanted to explore a little more.  So we headed behing home plate toward the 1B line.  There is a section of suites or some high rent club right behind home plate, so you can’t see the field back there.  Instead, there is an interesting collection of floor-to-ceiling sized pictures of a bunch of Yankees:

13 - mvp artwork.jpg

My guess is that this includes everyone who has won an MVP award as a Yankee.  For example, I looked up Babe Ruth to confirm my suspicion and noted that he did, in fact, win the MVP in 1923.  (Interestingly, Ruth did not win the MVP in 1924 when he led the league in averge (.378), runs (143), homeruns (46), walks (142), on-base percentage (.513), slugging (.739), OPS (1.252), OPS+ (220), and total bases (391).  Instead, the award went to Walter Johnson who went 23-7 with a 2.72 ERA.  Personally, I am more impressed by Ruth’s performance in 1924.).

Note:  I view the old great Yankees much differently than I view the modern Yankees.  They seem like completely different creatures to me.  So, you’ll have to excuse me that I cut off Don Mattingly and Alex Rodrigues in these pictures.  They were the last two in the line.

In case you couldn’t tell, these pictures changed as you walked passed them.

After a short walk, we ended up on the 1B side with a very similar view of the field:

13a - bronx 1B second deck panaramic.jpgThis time, Jeter fouled a pitch straight back (below to left)…

14 - jeter fouls back lines to 2B.jpg…before lining out to second in the bottom of the third (above to right).

 We’d eaten nothing but snacks since breakfast.  So, we decided it was time to consume 1,410 calories of tasty, tasty, TASTY nachos.

15 - CF nacho madness.jpgMy wife and I have long been big time nacho lovers (check out McGillin’s when in Philadelphia).  So I have been very proud of Tim for selecting nachos at the ballpark several times lately.

With some help from me, Tim obliterated those nachos.  We bought them behind 1B, but headed out to CF and ate them from atop the Mohegan Sun View Obstructor…I mean Sports Bar.  Here was our view from up there:

15a - bronx CF panaramic.jpgWhile Tim chowed down on nachos, a guy standing nearby kept commenting, “That kid is gonna eat that whole thing of nachos!!!!”  Meanwhile, I chatted with two guys (who appeared to be twin brothers) from the University of Washington (Go Dawgs) who are on a trip around the northeast.

After the U-Dubbers headed off to their seats, I heard that same guy proclaim, “Oh my gosh, that kid ate all of those jalapenos!!!”

For the record, I ate the jalapenos.

Before flying out to right to begin the bottom of the third, I snapped this picture of A-Rod swinging at and missing a pitch outside: 

16 - a swing and a miss.jpgWe were in an eating mood.  So we went straight from nachos to an ice cream helmet — chocolate with sprinkles.

I wanted to sit in actual seats for Tim to eat his ice cream.  So we found this spot in the last row of the upper deck in right field: 

17 - all good in the back row.jpgActually, it wasn’t a half bad place from which to watch the game.  Here was our view:

17a - bronx RF upper deck last row panaramic.jpgAnd here is Brian Roberts getting thrown out at first by Robinson Cano with one down in the top of the seventh: 

18 - roberts grounds to cano in 7th.jpgAnd, here is the Yankees Captain taking an ugly swing for strike three to end the seventh:

19 - and the whiff.jpgAt this point, it was still 6-1 Orioles.

We left the upper deck after Jeter’s whiff.  But before we leave it in this blog entry, let’s take a look at a few things I noticed up there.

First, below to the left, there were little spikey wires poking out of all of the steel above us.  I guess they were concered that fans would want to hang from the beams in the roof:

20 - pokers facade.jpgSecond, above to the right, the facade seems much more substantial at this version of Yankee Stadium.  To me, the facade at the last Yankee Stadium looked cheap and flimsy.  In person, I always thought it was massively unimpressive.  This facade is much better.

Third, Yankee Stadium features noticable divisions between the *classes*.  Field level tickets of any variety are ridiculously overpriced and should only be purchased by people with a lot of money to waste.  But only the ridiculously non-cost conscious buyers can or should ever purchae tickets in the first ten or so rows.  And to protect their unwise investment and egos, those ridiculously non-cost conscious get a moat to protect them from ever having to deal with the *merely rich* patrons who sit behind them in the field level, and special braclets so a *ridiculously rich* patron cannot give his or her ticket to a normal person upon exiting the Legends Suite.  Sure, they can give up their ticket stub.  But without the bracelet, the normal person doesn’t stand a chance of crossing the moat into the promised land.  Here is a little visual illustration:

21 - friendship moat.jpgOn our way out of the upper deck, a nice usher took our picture: 

22 - father-son in bronx.jpgIn case you haven’t noticed, Tim is in a “thumbs up” phase.

We left the upper deck seating because we decided to head out to the concourse behind the bleachers to play a little catch.  On the way down the stairs, we stopped so Tim could watch the 4-train go by:

23 - watching the 4 train.jpgWe took a second stop along the way so we could check out the RCF obstructed view in section 201.  How do you like it?

24 - 2-ooooooooohhh-1.jpgIf you watched this game on TV, did you see that great catch Nolan Reimold made going into the stands in foul territory down the LF line?  If you did, you’re lucky.  These people were at the game and sitting in their seats, but they missed it.

 Finally, we made our way to the narrow concourse behind the bleachers in LF.  This should be about the worst spot in all of MLB to play catch at a game.  It is way too narrow and gets way too much foot traffic.  But I was amazed on July 2nd that none of the billion guards shut us down when we played catch for a long, long time during the Mariners victory over the Yankees.

But at this game, *amazement* simply doesn’t do the situation justice.

We started playing catch and a guard came over while I was holding the ball and started to grab the ball out of my hand in super-awkwardly-odd slow motion.  Then he started grabbing my glove.  I had no clue what was going on.  Was this guy confiscating my glove and ball?  It made no sense.  Utterly confused, I questioned him:

Todd - “What’s going on here?”

Usher - “I want to play catch with your son.”

What?  That was the last thing I was expecting.  Not only was this guy condoning our playing catch in a busy and narrow concourse, he wanted in on the action!  This is not your 2008 Yankee Stadium!” 

Unfortunately…or maybe fortunately, things didn’t go as smoothly after I gave up my glove.  The usher tossed the ball to Tim…

25 - catch with usher.jpg…but it tipped off the end of his glove and made a hard left turn toward the wall behind the bleachers.

We all stood and watched in slow motion as the ball rolled directly into a hole in the wall:

26 - the ball incident.jpgAmazing!

The guy felt terrible.  The ball was several feet back in there in some digusting looking water (with a partially eaten pretzel).

Another stadium attendant came over to discuss the situation.  After a few seconds, he said, “Wait here.  I’ll go get you a new ball from downstairs.”

The usher who threw the ball also left.  He then came back with a big piece of metal (it looked like a drywall corner reinforcer) that he bent into a hook.  With it, he successfully retrieved our ball.  After he gave it back, he told us to stay put so we still get the replacement ball from the other attendant, and he thanked Tim for playing catch with him.

A few minutes later, the other attendant came back and handed us a real baseball.  He put it in my hand and said, “This is a batting practice home run from before the game.”

Sweet!  All in all, I think this catching session turned out idealy.  First, we played catch.  Second, we lost a ball making a fun memory with a stadium attendant.  Third, we got our ball back.  Fourth, we got a BP homerun despite missing all of BP.  Outstanding!

Next, we parted ways with the usher and headed through the concourse under the bleachers (below center).  We saw the entrance to the Mohegan Sun View Obstructor…oops…once again, I mean Sports Bar.  Then we headed toward the 3B line field level standing room area.  (On the right below is another random hallway that I’d never seen before.  It is behind the food court area behind 3B and, I think, it leads to the Great Hall.

27 - mohegan entrance LF concourse hall to great hall.jpgWe watched the ninth inning from behind home plate, just off to the 3B side above the very end of the dugout.

Jeter struck out again to end the game:

28 - jeter ends game.jpg.

Actually, that isn’t the final strike (but I will pretend it is).

We headed down into the seats to watch the post-game festivities — random milling about by Yankees employees, etc.  Really, I just wanted to get down there to try to get a picture with Tim.

But before getting a picture, we saw Jeremy Guthrie signing autographs by the end of the dugout.  He signed and signed and signed and signed.  He took pictures with fans.  And he signed some more.  Of course, we couldn’t go down there (even after the game its off limits for the normal fans).

But I’d heard that Guthrie was a cool guy.  So I yelled out to him, “Hey, Jeremy!”  He looked up but couldn’t find me at first.  He went back to signing.  I yelled again, “Hey, Jeremy!”  Finally, he spotted me.  I held up Tim’s newly acquired BP homerun ball.  He looked a little conflicted for a second.  You could see him thinking in his head.  “Should I?  Should I?”  Finally, after a couple seconds, he nodded “okay” to me.

He signed another ball for some kid and then he looked back up to me and raised his hands as if to say, “throw it!”  I complied.  I took a picture (below to left) of him signing our ball:

29 - jeremy guthrie autograph.jpgAbove to the right, the circle and arrow shows where Tim and I were standing when I tossed the ball down to Guthrie.

After he signed the ball, he threw it back so delicately you’d think he was in an egg toss competition.  The ball fell short.  I would have gloved it but someone below reached up and intercepted it.  But he’d seen the whole thing play out and he immediately returned it to us upon making the INT.  Guthrie looked a little embarrassed about the bad throw and gave me a “oops, sorry” gesture with his hands.

 Here is Tim’s ice cream helmet with the Guthrie autograph ball:

33 - helmet and guthrie autoball.jpgWeird autograph, huh?  It almost looks like he had trouble with the pen at the beginning of his name.

Finally, an usher took our picture before asking us to head out of the stadium:

30 - almost dugout shot.jpg

We milled about a little more before leaving, and I took this panaramic view:

30 a - bronx plate field tarp panaramic.jpg

If you click on this picture to enlarge it, you can see that Guthrie is still down there signing and posing for pictures.  Notice that the tarp is now out (it wasn’t out in the picture of me and Tim).  I think he stayed there until he signed for every single fan who possibly wanted an autograph (well, those who were in the Legends Suite at least).

Then we headed out of the stadium.

On the way to the subway, I took a picture of the old stadium, which now looks like a long forgotten mess:

30b - bronx old LF outside demolition panaramic.jpgIt appeared as if the upper deck was green.  I couldn’t tell if it was moss or what.  It is funny that this place was celebrated and made out to be the best place ever last season, but now it looks like this:

31 - digustinger old stadium.jpgAs we walked under the tracks for the 4-train on the way to the stairs down to the D-Train…

32 - bustling yankeetown street.jpgthe swarms of Yankees fans were unhappy about Burnett’s poor performance and their team’s loss, but Tim and I were happy after a great third MLB anniversary game.

We definitely made the right choice in going to NYC for a satisfying Yankees loss rather than going to South Philadelphia to see Ryan Madson blow Jamie Moyer’s win.

In related news, Tim is officially a Yankee Killer!  In three career games involving the Yankees, the Mariners have two wins and the Orioles have one win.  The Yankees are 0-3.  Excellent!

Season Fan Stats:


28 Games (plus one 5+ hour rain out with no game)
1 Ken Griffey, Jr. Homerun
(Career Homerun No. 624, August 23, 2009 in Cleveland)

12 Stadiums (Safeco Field, Camden Yards, Citizens Bank Park, Citi Field, Nationals Park, Yankee Stadium, Fenway Park, Wrigley Field, HHH Metrodome, Miller Park, U.S. Cellular, and “Jacobs” Field)
24 Teams (Mariners, A’s, Rangers, Rays, Orioles, Tigers, Twins, Indians, Red Sox, Yankees, Royals, White Sox, Phillies, Mets, Nationals, Cubs, Braves, Padres, Dodgers, Cardinals, Marlins, Pirates, Astros, and Brewers — and sort of the Giants)

23 Ice Cream Helmets (Mariners (4), Phillies (5), Mets, Nationals (3), Red Sox (3), Yankees (2), Twins, Cubs, Brewers, White Sox, and Indians (and 1 Brewers Cheese Fries Helmet))
26 Baseballs (14 Mariners, 2 Rangers, 1 Phillies, 1 Red Sox, 1 Umpire, 1 Nationals, 1 Pirates, 1 Twins, 1 Astros, 1 Royals, 1 Indians, Yankees/Orioles 1) 
MLB Closed Out (NL Closed out on 8/16/09, AL Closed out on 8/17/09) 
5 Autographs (King Felix Hernandez, Jason Phillips, Ronny Cedeno, Jeremy Guthrie, Ryan Perry) 
4 Player/G.M. Photographs (King Felix Hernandez, Jason Phillips, Jack Zduriencik, Ryan Perry) 
10 Mascot Pictures (Mariners Moose, Orioles Bird, Slider (Indians), 3 Presidents (Nats), Screech (Nats), 4 Running Sausages (Brewers) – Honorable Mention: The Green Monster statue bench)

Milestone Achieved (8-17-2009)

trophy.jpg

Today was a big day for Tim; a milestone day.  Therefore, I have two entries for today.  This one is the milestone entry.  I’m still working on the entries for our games at the Metrodome, Miller Park and U.S. Cellular Field, but they will all be coming soon.

Before Tim was born, I hand made a hard back, leather bound book for him that I called the “Baseball Log.”  I use the Baseball Log to track all of Tim’s baseball adventures.  Therefore, coming into this season, I knew that there were only 11 teams that Tim had not yet seen play in person.  I made it one of our goals for the season.  Today, at age 3-and-a-half, Tim checked the final team, the Royals, off of the list.

Milestone Acheived.

On our 30 team quest, we attended 46 games and visited 17 major league stadiums.  This entry gives a glimpse into Tim’s journey around the MLB circuit.

Division-by-Division

Division-by-division, we’ll start by reviewing the dates of Tim’s first game with each team:

A.L. West                               A.L. Central                           A.L. East

Mariners (9-12-06)                  Twins (8-14-07)                      Blue Jays (9-12-06)

Angles (8-17-08)                     Indians (7-19-08)                    Orioles (8-9-07)

Athletics (5-1-09)                    White Sox (8-27-08)               Yankees (9-3-07)

Rangers (5-4-09)                     Tigers (5-31-09)                      Rays (4-12-09)

                                                Royals (8-17-09)                     Red Sox (7-3-09)

 

N.L. West                               N.L. Central                          N.L. East

Rockies (9-12-07)                   Pirates (9-27-07)                     Phillies (6-30-07)

Giants (5-2-08)                        Cardinals (9-27-07)                 Mets (6-30-07)

Diamondbacks (9-12-08)        Cubs (4-11-08)                        Marlins (9-9-07)

Padres (4-19-09)                     Reds (6-2-08)                          Nationals (8-19-08)

Dodgers (5-13-09)                  Brewers (8-16-09)                   Braves (5-8-09)

Astros (8-16-09)

 

As you can see, we closed out the A.L. West first, followed by the N.L. East.  This makes a lot of sense since we are Mariners fans but we live an hour outside of Philadelphia.  We then flip-flopped the leagues, and closed out the N.L. West followed by the A.L. East.  Finally, on our current road trip, we closed out the N.L. Central on Monday, and the A.L. Central today.

 

Game Pictures

 

Let’s check out some pictures — all 46 of Tim’s games to date (plus one 5+ hour rain out with no game) in order:

Game 1 - 9-12-06 - Blue Jays at Mariners.jpg
Game 2 - 6-30-07 - Mets at Phillies.jpg
Game 3 - 8-9-07 - Mariners at Orioles.jpg
Game 4 - 8-14-07 - Twins at Mariners.jpg

Game 5 - 8-15-07 - Twins at Mariners.jpg
Game 6 - 9-3-07 - Mariners at Yankees.jpg

Game 7 - 9-9-07 - Marlins at Phillies.jpg
Game 8 - 9-12-07 - Rockies at Phillies.jpg
Game 9 - 9-29-07 - Cardinals at Pirates.jpg
Game 10 - 4-6-08 - Mariners at Orioles.jpg
Game 11 - 4-11-08 - Cubs at Phillies.jpg
Game 12 - 5-2-08 - Giants at Phillies.jpg
Game 13 - 6-2-08 - Reds at Phillies.jpg
Game 14 - 7-19-08 - Indians at Mariners.jpg
Game 15 - 8-15-08 - Cardinals at Reds.jpg
Game 16 - 8-17-08 - Angles at Indians.jpg
Game 17 - 8-18-08 - Mets at Pirates.jpg
Game 18 - 8-19-08 - Nationals at Phillies.jpg
Game 19 - 8-27-08 - White Sox at Orioles.jpg
Game 20 - 9-7-08 - Phillies at Mets.jpg
Game 21 - 9-12-08 - Reds at Diamondbacks.jpg
Game 22 - 4-12-09 - Rays at Orioles.jpg
Game 23 - 4-19-09 - Padres at Phillies.jpg
Game 24 - 4-25-09 - Nationals at Mets.jpg
Game 25 - 5-1-09 - Athletics at Mariners.jpg
Game 26 - 5-2-09 - Athletics at Mariners.jpg
Game 27 - 5-3-09 - Athletics at Mariners.jpg
Game 28 - 5-4-09 - Rangers at Mariners.jpg
Game 29 - 5-5-09 - Rangers at Mariners.jpg
Game 30 - 5-8-09 - Braves at Phillies.jpg
Game 31 - 5-13-09 - Dodgers at Phillies.jpg
Game 32 - 5-17-09 - Phillies at Nationals.jpg
Game 33 - 5-31-09 - Tigers at Orioles.jpg
Game 34-1 - 6-3-09 - Giants at Nationals - Rainout.jpg
Game 34-2 - 6-10-09 - Mariners at Orioles.jpg
Game 35 - 6-28-09 - Nationals at Orioles.jpg
Game 36 - 7-2-09 - Mariners at Yankees.jpg
Game 37 - 7-3-09 - Mariners at Red Sox.jpg
Game 38 - 7-4-09 - Mariners at Red Sox.jpg
Game 39 - 7-5-09 - Mariners at Red Sox.jpgGame 40 - 7-19-09 - Cubs at Nationals.jpg
Game 41 - 7-24-09 - Cardinals at Phillies.jpg

Game 42 - 8-9-09 - Marlins at Phillies.jpg
Game 43 - 8-14-09 - Pirates at Cubs.jpg
Game 44 - 8-15-09 - Indians at Twins.jpg
Game 45 - 8-16-09 - Astros at Brewers.jpg
Game 46 - 8-17-09 - Royals at White Sox.jpg

Games Log

 Let’s take a closer look at those games.  In the following list of games, when a Team Name is in Bold/Italics it denotes the first game in which Tim saw that particular team play in person.  When a Team Name is underlined it denotes that team won the game.  I figured identifying the game winners is enough, so I didn’t include the scores.  However, I am including some game notes — such as homeruns, batting results by our favorite players or all-stars, etc.  

1. Blue Jays at Mariners (9-12-06) – Ichiro 1-5, HR (Beltre, Ibanez, Wells), 2 Balls

2. Mets at Phillies (6-30-07) – HR – Howard, Beltran (2)

3. Mariners at Orioles (8-9-07) – Ichiro 3-6; HR – Miguel Tejada, Jose Guillen

4. Twins at Mariners (8-14-07) – Ichiro 1-4

5. Twins at Mariners (8-15-07) – Ichiro 2-4, 2SB; HR – Ibanez, Torii Hunter

6. Mariners at Yankees (9-3-07) – Ichiro 3-5, HR; W – Felix; L – Clemens (final loss)

7. Marlins at Phillies (9-9-07) – Burrell 2-4, HR; Carlos Ruiz 3-4, HR; Rollins 2-5

8. Rockies at Phillies (9-12-07) – Dobbs-Utley 3-Play; HR – M. Holliday; Helton 3-4

9. Cardinals at Pirates (9-27-07) – Pujols 3-5, 2B; Rick Ankiel 3-4, HR, 3RBI

10. Mariners at Orioles (4-6-08) – Ichiro 1-4; Ibanez 3-4, HR

11. Cubs at Phillies (4-11-08) – Pat Burrell 2-4, HR; Alfonso Soriano 1-4, HR

12. Giants at Phillies (5-2-08) – Chase Utley 2-3; Pat Burrell – walk off HR

13. Reds at Phillies (6-2-08) – Chase Utley 3-4, HR, 2RBI; Jay Bruce 2-4, HR

14. Indians at Mariners (7-19-08) – Ichiro 2-4, HR, 2RBI with outfield assist

15. Cardinals at Reds (8-15-08) – Pujols 3-5; Ankiel HR; Chris Dickerson 1st HR

16. Angles at Indians (8-17-08) – F. Gutierrez 3-3, 2RBI; Texiera 2-4; Sizemore 2-5

17. Mets at Pirates (8-18-08) – Adam LaRoche 2-3, HR, 2RBI

18. Nationals at Phillies (8-19-08) – HR – Jayson Werth, Willie Harris; R. Belliard 4-4

19. White Sox at Orioles (8-27-08) – Griffey 0-1, 3BB; HR: Dye, Millar, Huff, Konerko

20. Phillies at Mets (9-7-08) – W – Moyer (243); L – Pedro Martinez; HR – G. Dobbs

21. Reds at Diamondbacks (9-12-08) – Webb – 20th Win, 8IP, 5H, O ER, 2K

22. Rays at Orioles (4-12-09) – HR – Longoria, C. Pena, J. Bartlett, B. Zobrist

23. Padres at Phillies (4-19-09) – Ibanez – 2-4, HR; HR – Rollins, Utley, A. Gonzalez

24. Nationals at Mets (4-25-09) – C. Beltran 3-5, SB; R. Zimmerman 2-5

25. Athletics at Mariners (5-1-09) – Ichiro 1-5; HR – Gutierrez, Branyan, Holliday

26. Athletics at Mariners (5-2-09) – Ichiro 2-5; HR – Branyan; Giambi 2-4, 2RBI

27. Athletics at Mariners (5-3-09) – Ichiro 2-7; HR – Johjima, M. Sweeney (200)

28. Rangers at Mariners (5-4-09) – Ichiro 1-5; HR – Gutierrez, Branyan, Young, Davis

29. Rangers at Mariners (5-5-09) – Ichiro 0-2, 2BB; HR – Saltalamacchia, Nelson Cruz

30. Braves at Phillies (5-8-09) – HR – Coste, Werth, Utley; W – Hamels

31. Dodgers at Phillies (5-13-09) – HR – Ibanez, Rollins, Casey Blake, James Loney

32. Phillies at Nationals (5-17-09) – Sergio Escalona – 1st Career Win; Rollins 2-4;

33. Tigers at Orioles (5-31-09) – Curtis Granderson HR; W – Edwin Jackson 8 IP, 2H

34a. Giants at Nationals (6-3-09) – Rainout – R. Johnson sch’d to pitch for 300th Win.

34. Mariners at Orioles (6-10-09) – Ichiro 1-3; Jose Lopez 2HR; W – F. Hernandez

35. Nationals at Orioles (6-28-09) – HR – Dunn (Eutaw St.); Willie Harris 3-4, HR

36. Mariners at Yankees (7-2-09) – Ichiro 2-4; HR – Branyan, Gutierrez; L – Sabbathia

37. Mariners at Red Sox (7-3-09) – Ichiro 1-5; HR – R. Cedeno, Drew, Kottaras (1st)

38. Mariners at Red Sox (7-4-09) – Ichiro 1-5; HR – Jason Varitek; S – Aardsma

39. Mariners at Red Sox (7-5-09) – Griffey 1-1; Ichiro 1-5; HR- Ortiz, Pedroia, Ellsbury

40. Cubs at Nationals (7-19-09) – HR – Alfonso Soriano, Adam Dunn, Jake Fox

41. Cardinals at Phillies (7-24-09) – W – Joel Piniero, M. Holliday 4-5; HR – J. Lugo

42. Marlins at Phillies (8-9-09) – Moyer – 2ER, but loss.  Victorino ejected from CF.

43. Pirates at Cubs (8-14-09) – Cubs score 10 runs in 2nd inning. HR – Fukudome.

44. Indians at Twins (8-15-09) – HR – Sizemore, Mauer, Choo

45. Astros at Brewers (8-16-09) - HR – Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder.

46. Royals at White Sox (8-17-09) - HR – Yuni Betancourt, Jacobs, Pierzynski, Nix.

 

Ice Cream Helmets & Baseballs 

 

Tim and I have collected a lot of memories as we’ve made the rounds of the MLB.  But memories aren’t all we have collected.  We’ve also amassed a few MLB baseballs and a bunch of ice cream helmets.  Click here for a little article about our baseball collecting.  Pictured below are our baseballs and ice cream helmets:

helmets and balls.JPG

helmets and balls part 2.jpg
 
It has been a great trip around the MLB so far.  Now, we’ll have to start working on the next milestone — maybe every MLB stadium.

Thanks for joining us for this ride this season.  Don’t forget to check out all of our reports from The (Second Annual) Great Cook Father-Son-Grandson Road Trip of 2009, three of which are still to come in the next couple days:

  •  
    Pirates at Cubs (8-14-09)
  • Indians at Twins (8-15-09) – coming soon.
  • Astros at Brewers (8-16-09) - coming soon.
  • Royals at White Sox (8-17-09) - coming soon.

Double-A Pedro (8-5-09)

1a - RBBSL Logo.jpgMy company has a softball team in the soon-to-be world famous Reading-Berks Business Softball League (RBBSL).  Sadly, we were eliminated from playoff contention a couple weeks back after a tough loss to the squad from EnerSys.  Last Monday, we assembled at Cacoosing Meadows for our final game of the season, another tough battle against the accountants of Reinsel Kuntz Lesher.  On the field next to us, it was a battle between EnerSys and the Reading Phillies (their front office).  As rec. league softball goes, it was huge game — the R-Phils won 10-9 and punched their ticket to the post-season while sending EnerSys home for a long winter.

After the game, I was chatting with my buddy from the R-Phils and he informed me that the R-Phils had just announced some big news…

1- Pedro on RPhils.jpg

…Pedro Martinez would be making a rehab start for the R-Phils on Wednesday, August 5th. 

Baseballtown was a buzz.  A future hall of famer was about to grace the mound at FirstEnergy Stadium.  I was in the middle of a ridiculously busy week at work.  But I decided I’d take a short break on Wednesday night so Tim and I could check out Pedro on his comeback trail.

2a - zagurski_mike.jpgBy the way, do you see the guy pictured just below Pedro on the R-Phils website?  That’s Mike Zagurski.   He’s had a cup of coffee in Philadelphia and boasts a spotless MLB record of 1-0.  A couple weeks back, my softball team faced off against the R-Phils on the night of the MLB All-Star game.  It was also MiLB All-Star break so Zagurski and a couple other professional R-Phils players came out to Cacoosing Meadows to cheer on their softball team….and to heckle mine.   Well, mostly, I think they were there to heckle us.  And they heckled us, and heckled us…and then they heckled us some more.  Ultimately, we lost the game by one run.  But the silver lining is that I can now say I’ve been heckled by someone who has pitched in the major leagues.  Not too shabby.


2 - Baseballtown Sells Out.JPGAfter our softball game, I ordered a ticket to the game online.  Entry was free for Tim (0-4 is free at the R-Phils).  It was a good thing I ordered it online because, for the first time in team history (or so I’m told) the R-Phils completely sold out.  As the sign says, they even sold out of standing room only tickets.

We actually got lucky, on the way home from work to get ready to head to the game, my buddy called and said he had four extra tickets.  Someone had given them to him, but he already had tickets.  He ended up giving them to us so we’d have reserved seats and wouldn’t have to battle the crowd for General Admission seats or standing room.  It was defintely a good thing, because check out how crowded it was at the game…

6 - packed house.JPG…see how people are using the stairs down into the LF homerun trough as standing room to watch the game?  Crazy.  It was packed!

As we arrived, they were announcing the starting line-ups.

“And pitching for your Reading Phillies, warming up in the bullpen, Pedro Martinez.”

3 - pitching for the r-phils.JPG

We headed straight to the bullpen, and got there in time to watch about two pitches before Pedro was officially “warm.”  So we walked back toward the grand stand with Pedro, his catcher and pitching coach Steve Schrenk walking right down the foul line along with us.

4 - and warming up in the bullpen.JPG

Notice that Pedro is wearing No. 41 rather than his usual No. 45.  In that last photo, Schrenk’s pullover is covering up Pedro’s number.  Based on a close analysis and comparison of Schrenk’s and Pedro’s career numbers, it probably wouldn’t have killed Schrenk to give up No. 45 for a night.  Although, it obviously didn’t kill Pedro to give No. 41 a test drive.

The R-Phils took the field and Pedro did some more warming up:

5 - warm ups on mound.JPG

And then it was time, Austin Krum stood in and Pedro delivered his first pitch in Double-A baseball since he was a 19 year old kid in 1991 pitching for the San Antonio Missions in the Texas League:

8 - 1st AA pitch since 1991.JPG

The At-Bat would not go well for Krum.

However, things would go much better for Edwin Nunez in the first inning:

9a - Edwin Nunez HR.JPG

Nunez hit a bomb that landed inside that yellow circle up there.

The rest of the inning went much better for Pedro:

  • K – Austin Krum
  • K – Reegie Corona
  • HR – Edwin Nunez
  • K – Chris Malec

 Totals:  3 Strike Outs, 1 Hit

All the while, Tim was enjoying a chocolate ice cream helmet with sprinkles:

8a - tim and ice cream.JPG

By the way, here was our view:

9 - rphils pedro panaramic.jpgNext, the R-Phils came to the plate.  Did you pay attention to the Phillies-Blue Jays Roy Halladay trade talks?  One name you might have heard tossed around was Dominic Brown.  Well, in the bottom of the first, Brown absolutely crushed a ball to tie the score up at 1-1:

10 - dominic brown gonzo.jpgBrown’s HR exited the stadium and landed out on Route 61. 

Building on his early total of three strike outs, Pedro kept dealing in the top of the second:

10 a - rphils pedro LF trough panaramic.jpgTop of the second:

  • K – P. J. Pilittere
  • K – Richie Robnett
  • ground out – Edwar Gonzalez

Totals:  5 Strike Outs, 1 Hit

Between innings, the R-Phils kept us entertained with the antics of the Crazy Hot Dog Vendor:

11 - crazy hotdog vendor.jpg

The Crazy Hot Dog Vendor throws hot dogs into the stands much to the delight of the fans.  However, on this day, thrown hot dogs were not enough to satisfy the capacity crowd.  We wanted more Pedro.  And in the top of the third, he delivered again:

12 - pedro motion.jpg

Top of the third results:

  • K – James Cooper
  • K – Marcos Vechionacci
  • ground out – Austin Krum (Pedro hustles over and covers first)

 Totals:  7 Strike Outs, 1 Hit

In the bottom of the third, it was D-Bro time again — and he delivered again…

14 - dominic brown strokes a double.jpg

…not a home run this time…

15 - dominic brown double.jpg

…a solid double.  This guy is looking good.

Tim was pretty excited for two reasons…

16 - no foul balls.JPG

1) he had his glove and he was ready to catch a foul ball — but none came anywhere near us, and…

17 - roast beef.JPG

2) Our Arby’s Roast Beef batter was at the plate.  If Brian Stavisky could hit in D-Bro from second base, we’d all win free roast beef sandwiches at Arby’s — unfortunately, Stavisky didn’t come through for us.

After someone else did Stavisky’s job (no free roast beef for us), Pedro was back to the mound in the top of the fourth.

By the way, ever heard of Reegie Corona?  He plays for the Trenton Thunder.  However, last February-March, as a result of the Rule 5 draft, he played for our Seattle Mariners.  I never saw him bat on TV during the spring, so I didn’t know about his crazy wide stance.  Check it out:

13 - reegie corona.JPG

…but the important thing is that Pedro had his payback on his Double-A arch nemisis, Edwin Nunez:

19 - strike three.jpg

“Strike Three!”

Top of the fourth results:

  • K – Reegie Corona
  • K – Edwin Nunez
  • single – Chris Malec
  • ground out to S.S. - P. J. Pilittere

Totals:  9 Strike Outs, 2 Hit

After the top of the fourth, something funny happened that I thought was noteworthy.  After the ground out to end the inning, Stavisky (the R-Phils first basemen) rolled the ball back to the pitcher’s mound.  Third basemen Neil Sellers ran by the ball to the dugout.  Then, he turned around and back to the mound and grabbed the ball.  I was watching him and I figured he wanted the ball to keep as a keepsake from his game backing up Pedro Martinez.  But he went and grabbed the ball and threw it to a fan above the dugout.  I thought that was pretty cool.  He knew someone would want that Pedro-pitched ball.

Anyway, I took one last picture of the field, it was a beautiful night for baseball…

18 - nice evening.JPG

…but, as I said, I was crazy busy at work this week.  So we cut our night short after four innings so I could go home and work, work, work.   But it was an excellent four innings of getting to see Pedro pitch some minor league ball.  And the R-Phils did an excellent job playing host to a huge crowd for the night.

Pedro ended up having two more strike outs over two more innings.  He gave up a couple more tuns, one of which was unearned.  We’ll see how he holds up when he makes it to Philadelphia.  I was watching the gun throughout the night.  I saw one pitch clock in at 91 mph.  But he seemed to throw mostly curves and change ups that were in the 60s and 70s.  In fact, he had one curve that was 64 mph.

Pujols and Piniero in Philadelphia (7-24-09)

1 - citz bank park.JPGIt had been a couple months, but Friday afternoon, Tim and I hopped into the car and headed down the PA Turnpike bound for Citizens Bank Park.

There was one reason, and one reason alone, that I decided we should go to this game — Albert Pujols.  The guy is a monster.  I wanted to get our third peak of this future hall of famer.  And I was hoping he would go yard for us.

We tend to go to more day games than night games.  Many of them have no batting practice.  So I decided we’d head down a little early for this game so we could watch some BP and maybe see Pujols put on a display of his skills before the game got started.  I was also hoping we’d see Jamie Moyer.  I’ve seen him hanging out signing autographs before games with his own sharpie.  I was hoping he’d be out so we could try to get a picture with him.

However, none of it was in the cards.  Little did I know that thousands of 7-year-old Jonas Brothers fans would be out in force.  The Brothers Jonas were playing next door to Citizens Bank Park.  They managed to make our 72 mile drive take over 2-and-a-half hours.  We completely missed BP.  It wasn’t the most pleasant driving experience.

Interestingly, we have NEVER made it to BP at Citizens Bank Park.  Never.

Anyway, we were at the park early enough that we didn’t have to hurry to get into the stadium once we parked.   The Phils fans have a good time before games.  Tailgating is rampant.  So we decided to play a little catch in the Lincoln Financial Field parking lot…

2 - catch at the linc.jpg…then we grabbed our tickets from will call and Tim watched some bees in the flowers outside the home plate entrance:

3 - bees at Citz Bank.JPGAnd, there were lots of bees.  If you go sit there, be careful that you don’t get stung!


4 - citz directory.JPG After we headed into the park, Tim really wanted to look at the “map.”  Just in case you are interested, here it is.

I wasn’t too excited to spend a lot of time looking at the directory because I didn’t know what time it was and if we were risking missing Pujols’s first at bat.  Tim on the other hand wanted to take a nice, slow, thorough look at this thing.  Luckily, it all worked out.  We didn’t miss anything.

When we made our way into the field seats by the third base dugout, we found players stretching down the base lines, the Philly Phanatic warming up the crowd, grounds crew people were doing the final prep work on the field, and the announcer was reading the starting line-ups.

 

Here is what the scene looked like:

5 - pre-game festivities.JPG And, before long, it was game time.  We sorta have a standard game plan at Citizens Bank Park, and it usually starts with watching the first couple innings from the SRO areas behind home plate.  At this game, we decided to move a little to the right for the beginning of the game so we could get a good view of Albert.  Unfortunately, no first inning fireworks — here is his swing resulting in a ground out to first base:

6 - pujols grounder.JPG

At the far right, you can see the ball (a blurr) just entering the picture.  Sadly, there would be no Pujols HR on this day (although he did get one hit)…and this is the best I could do as far as action shots of Pujols goes.  But here are some less interesting “batting stance” shots:

7 - pujols at bat.JPG

In the bottom of the inning, I was happy to get a chance to see my old buddy, Joel Piniero, on the mound…

8 - utley-piniero.JPG

…here he is shown with a picture of Chase Utley about to fly out to Ryan Ludwick in CF.

But back to Piniero.  Joel was a Mariner from 2000-2006.  Joel started out great with the M’s.  It seemed he was poised to be a terrific starter for years to come for the Mariners.  However, he cooled off.  He ended his time as a Mariners with a career record of 58-55.

Anyway, it was great to see Joel in action once again — and he got the win for the Cardinals.

In the top of the second, the Cardinals took the lead 1-0 and Tim asked to go to the play area.  I figured it was a good time to go because Pujols had just been up in the first inning and we probably had a while before he was up again.  So, as requested, it was play area time:

9 - playarea time.JPG

Tim loves this little marble maze in the picture to the right.  Actually, he generally just loves the Phillies play area.  By far, it is his favorite of any park we’ve visited.

After playing in the play area for a few minutes, it started to rain a bit.  Although it didn’t seem like much, they closed the play area.  I told Tim we could go get his ice cream and check out the what is going on in the game.

Before we got ice cream, this is what we found on the field:

10 - citz rf rain delay panaramic.jpg

No play area.   No game.  Yep, its time for ice cream.

We headed up to the second deck because I had a brilliant idea that it would be less crowded.  In my defense, I had some decent logic here.  90 percent or more of the field level seats are out in the open (in the rain) while much more of the second deck is under cover.  So I figured the field level concourse would be packed.

Well, it might have been.  But I’m not sure it would be possible to be any more “packed” than the second deck concourse.  We got stuck walking through it and it took a while to get out — without ice cream.  Check out what it looked like (taken from the third deck):

11 - rain hiding.JPG

Now that I see that picture again, I guess that not many of the seats up there are covered.  Oh, well.

We finally made it through the third deck to a food stand that *appeared* to have ice cream.  By this time, Tim was begging and praying for some ice cream:

12 - ice cream pleeeeeease.JPG

Well, they only had ice cream in pint cartons.  That’s unacceptable.  But they pointed us to “Seasons Pizza” where we could find ice cream helmets.  (Referring back to the directory above, we usually get Tim’s ice cream helmet at “Old City Creamery” behind section 137 on the 3B line).

So on we marched on our ice cream buying-and-eating trek that would eventually have us see almost the entire ball park…or so it seemed.

Indeed, Seasons Pizza had ice cream helmets with chocolate sprinkles ($5.00).  We bought Tim’s helmet and went up into the stands so he could sit down and enjoy his helmet.  We went toward the top of the upper deck so we’d be under cover.  There were tons of open seats because everyone was packed into the concourses below. 

Here is Tim at the first stop on our ice cream eating tour:

13 - 1st ice cream spot.JPG

The rain stopped.  They started to uncover the field.  Here is what it looked like from our first ice cream seats of the day:

14 - citz upper  3B-home tarp panaramic.jpg

Soon, people came for our seats.  Tim decided he wanted to go down to the field level.  I thought that seemed like a good idea.  There are a lot of standing room counters on which tim usually sits to eat his ice cream while I stand and watch the game.

We headed down numerous flights of stairs until we found ourself in the field level concourse.  Or, I should say, the still extremely over crowded field level concourse.  Number of counter spots available:  zero.

So we heaed up to the second deck down the LF line.  Not gonna work.

So we headed back to the third deck where there are also lots of standing room counters.  Unfortunately, they are out in the open and, consequently, they were soaked.  But we eventually found one that was under cover.

The melted ice cream eating resumed:

15 - 2d ice cream spot.JPG

It looked really cool up there with the sun coming through the rain clouds.  The bad part was that they were about to start playing the game again, and we couldn’t see the field.

Instead, this was our view:

16 - citz upper LF concourse city panaramic.jpg

So it was on to our third set of ice cream seats — actually another counter, not seats.

17 - 3d ice cream spot.JPG

This counter was wet too.  But luckily I bring lots of extra clothes for Tim — in case he destroys his clothes with chocolate ice cream — so I could wipe down a spot for Tim to sit.

Here was our view from our third and final ice cream spot:

18 - citz upper LF panaramic.JPG

It was a long road to this final ice cream eating spot — but we were happy with our journey and destination.  We recorded the moment with a self portrait:

19 - self portrait.JPG

Hey, look at that, the Ryan Howard shift!

20 - defensing howard.JPG

Next, we decided to go spend some time in the outfield and by the bullpens.  We’ve never really hung out by the bullpen at Citizens Bank Park before.  So I thought it would be a nice plan.

On the way down the long ramps in the LF corner, I took some pictures of the front and back of the big scoreboard/video screen in LF…

21 - citz scoreboard back-n-front.jpg

…then it was time to head to Ashburn Alley in CF…

22 - ashburn alley.JPG

In the picture to the right, the green walls going down into a big pit are the walls of the bullpens.

Tim loved the statue of Richie Ashburn out there:

23 - Ashburn Trophy.JPG

Tim kept calling the statue a “Trophy.”  He loves trophies!  In this picture, he is swinging a fake bat and then running to the base on which Richie is standing.  He did that over-and-over-and-over-again.

Here is the view of Ashburn Alley from the Ashburn “Trophy”:

24 - citz ashburn alley panaramic.jpg

Next, we headed over to the area by the bullpens where we found a steel beam with a two foot high concrete base…

25 - SRO beam.JPG

Tim had fun standing inside the groove in the beam, and the concrete base was great for boosting me above all of these fans (top right) standing around “watching” the game.  We also had a good view of the bullpens if we scooted a few feet closer to CF:

26 - andrew carpenter no. 48.JPG

In the picture to the right, the Phillies’ Andrew Carpenter is warming up (the ball looks like a blur in the middle of the picture) and the Cardinals relievers are milling about up top.  Carpenter came in and gave up a HR to Julio Lugo.

I took the picture to the left because I thought it was an interesting view of the outfield wall.  You can see the corner of the Phillies’ bullpen in the bottom right of that picture.

In the RF corner of the field level concourse, there are a couple big baseball games and a BBQ stand.  I’ve never taken Tim over there because I haven’t wanted to test his patience standing in line for the games.  However, at this game, I decided he was ready — and he did great standing in line watching the other kids play the game.  Here is the game we played:

27 - Ballpark Pinball.JPG

The kid in the Utley shirt is standing at the control box.  There are two big buttons.  One says “pitch” and one says “swing”  When you press the pitch button, a door opens up on the pitcher’s hand and a volleyball sized baseball rolls down the board.  Then you press swing and try to hit the ball into one of the slots at the top.  You get three outs.

Most of the kids got three outs without getting any hits.  The first kid we watched who got a hit was a pro at it.  He ended up scoring four runs.  Tim and I played together and we ended up with two triples and one run scored.

Here is the view of the RF-RCF seats and concourse from the Ballpark Pinball game:

28 - RF corner concourse.JPG

These pictures are the same, but taken on different settings of my camera.  The red arrow is pointing toward the top of our standing room beam.

And here is a picture taken from our beam toward the concourse leading to the RF foul pole and the 1B infield concourse:

29 - RF concourse.JPG

You can’t tell from this shot, but the concourses at Citizens Bank Park provide a ton of room for standing room viewing of the game.  My only complaint is that the concourses are often windy.  However, it was nice at this game.  Really no noticable wind in the RCF concourse area.

Next, Tim wanted to go up onto an elevated walkway all the way out in deep CF.  They call it the “rooftop” for some reason.  They have cheap bleachers out there.  We took a couple panaramics up there, here is the first which is closer to the small section of bleachers (the bleachers are toward the RF side of the rooftop — and are shown in the first picture in this entry, below the liberty bell):

30 - citz CF rooftop panaramic.jpg

The rooftop seems like a nice place to hang out and have some drinks and food with friends.  There are a bunch of picnic tables with umbrellas for shade up there.  But the big brick wall blocks out your view of a huge portion of the outfield.  The wall is the backside of the batters eye.

As you’ll see in the next picture, during the game, they fence off the bottom section of the historical time-line and wall of fame area to the left end of the brick wall.  My guess is they do that so people don’t stand on the fence and bug the people in the bullpen, which is just below that area.

Here is another picture from the rooftop where you can see the red and blue fence blocking the area above the bullpen.  Also, this is taken from deeper CF, toward left a bit, and it provides a much clearer view of the field:

31 - citz CF rooftop panaramic2.jpg

We took this funny picture of ourselves before heading down from the rooftop:

32 - excited self portrait.JPG

Finally, we headed down to the fancy seats behind the Phillies dugout for the ninth inning.  The Cardinals were blowing out the Phils so there were plenty of empty seats and no one checked out tickets when we went down between innings.

This was our view of the Phils hitting in the ninth:

33 - phils last chance.jpg

Above, on that swing, Pedro Feliz grounded out.  Below, two seconds later, Carlos Ruiz got nailed in the side of the leg.  Matt Stairs followed with a fielder’s choice / error by Albert Pujols.  Finally, J-Roll and Victorino grounded out to end the game.

At the beginning of the game, they announced that Adrian Johnson was the home plate umpire.  They don’t have a separate umpire tunnel at Citizens Bank Park.  I wasn’t sure if they would exit through the Phillies dugout or the Cardinals.  I figured we’d try the Phillies side.  But I figured wrong.

After the final out was recorded, Johnson started walking toward the Cardinals dugout.  I yellowed, “Hey, Mr. Johnson, Adrian Johnson!”  He stopped and turned around and looked my way for maybe five seconds.  He couldn’t figure out who called his name.  So he turned around again and left.  No umpire ball for Team Cook.  Thus, we snapped our family record 7 game streak of getting a ball.  Oh, well.  It wasn’t a surprise, we’ve got a grand total of 1 ball ever at Citizens Bank Park (from Rockies 1B coach and former Mariner Glenallen Hill) and 1 total ball ever from the Phillies (J-Roll in D.C. in May).

All in all, we had a great time at the ball park — highlighted by our tour of the park looking for a spot for Tim to eat his ice cream.

And, the Jonas Brothers must have let out early.  It only took about an hour and a half to get home.

 

Season Fan Stats:

20 Games (plus one 5+ hour rain out with no game)
7 Stadiums
(Safeco Field, Camden Yards, Citizens Bank Park, Citi Field, Nationals Park, Yankee Stadium, and Fenway Park)
16 Teams (Mariners, A’s, Rangers, Rays, Orioles, Tigers, Red Sox, Yankees, Phillies, Mets, Nationals, Cubs,
Braves, Padres, Dodgers and Cardinals– and sort of the Giants)
16 Ice Cream Helmets (Mariners (4), Phillies (4), Mets, Nationals (3), Red Sox (3) and Yankees)
18 Baseballs (12 Mariners, 2 Rangers, 1 Phillies, 1 Red Sox, 1 Umpire, 1 Nationals) 
4 Divisions Closed Out (So far in Tim’s Life — AL West, AL East, NL West, NL East)
 
3 Autographs (King Felix Hernandez, Jason Phillips, Ryan Perry) 
2 Player/G.M. Photographs (King Felix Hernandez, Jack Zduriencik, Ryan Perry)
 
5 Mascot Pictures (Mariners Moose (2), Orioles Bird (2), 3 Presidents (Nats), Screech (Nats) — Honorable Mention: The Green Monster statue bench)

Baseball & The Cubbies in D.C. (7-19-2009)

On June 3, 2009, I knocked off work early and Tim and I trekked down to Nationals Park in Washington, D.C to witness a piece of history — Randy Johnson’s 300th career victory.  However, the rain put the kibosh on our plans.

July 19th was our make-up game.  Instead of seeing Randy Johnson’s 300th win, we saw Kevin Hart’s third.  It was a fun game — but as the math would reveal, it was about 100 times less memorable than if we would have got to see Randy’s big win.

The process of exchanging our rain out tickets for these tickets was made 50,000 times more difficult due to the inadequacies of the Washington Nationals telephone system.  I called them at about 4-5 different numbers I found on their website.  They all led to the same automated phone system.  No humans ever answered.  I was dumped into a “general” voicemail box and none of my calls were returned until I got creative.  Eventually the team store gave me the number 202-640-7000.  From that number, you can get a company phone directory.  I went through the front office directory on MLB.com and entered random Nationals employees into the phone directory.  The first 3-4 employees went straight to voicemail.  I was beginning to think that no one actually worked at Nationals Park.  Eventually, I reached someone.  She told me I could only make the exchange at the box office at the stadium and they wouldn’t hold tickets aside for me — just in case I didn’t show up.  So I was stuck driving 2.5 hours not knowing if they’d have any cheap seats to exchange for our cheapseats tickets.

When we got there, they didn’t.  All the cheap seats were sold out.  So we had to get tickets about twice as expensive as our original tickets.  This was frustrating.  I pulled out my card to pay the extra money for the more expensive tickets.  The guy asked me if I was buying more tickets.  “No.”  “Then you don’t need your card.”

It was the first good moment in the whole process:  they made a straight exchange for my cheap seats tickets.  This made me happy.  A small amount of redemption.  But the Nationals as an organization have a long way to go to get back in my good graces.  The handling of the rainout and then the unanswered phone messages and emails did a lot of damage.

Anyway, there is a game to report.  Let’s get to it.

To add to my already mounting frustration while heading down to the game, I missed the exit from I-95 to I-295.  So I had no clue how to get to the Park.  I saw an exit sign that said “To Naionals Park.”  So I took it.  Then I drove around totally clueless for about 15 minutes until I magically popped out of nowheresville and onto a bridge heading straight to Nationals Park.  This is what I saw:

1 - road to nats park.jpgWe entered through this entrance by the 1B line.  We’d never been around this side of the stadium, so it was good to see what it looks like over there.

We entered the stadium and there was a lot of hoopla going on — the Nats fans and employees were all jazzed up for the beginning of the game (FYI, we got there about 10 second before the Nats took the field):

2 - festive nats park.JPG

Often times, we walk into a game and Tim instantly informs me, “I want ice cream!”  Today to my surprise, he told me, “I want ice cream, after we eat lunch.”  He wanted chicken strips and fries, which interestingly is what we had at our only other game at Nationals Park.

We bought the chicken and fries and sat in the handicap accessible seats behind 1B field level seats.  This was our view:

3 - nats 1B chxfries seats panaramic.jpg

At our first game here, the attendants were dictators.  They checked tickets everywhere.  I had to sweet talk a guy to let Tim and I sit in the LAST ROW of the upper deck to eat Tim’s ice cream helmet.  I was happy to find the stadium much more relaxed at this game.

Here is Tim between french fries:

4 - serious tim.JPG

Tim was a little camera shy today.  He was all smiles and laughs all day except when the camera looked his way.  This is serious Tim.

I am excited for this entry because I felt like I got a lot of good action shots at this game.  Here is the first:

5 - johnsons on broadway.jpg

Okay.  So there really isn’t much *action* going on here.  But I wanted to get a picture of Nick Johnson and give him big SeaTown props.  Both today and at our last game at Nationals Park, N-John came to the plate accompanied by the sweet sounds of Sir Mix-A-Lot’s “Posse On Broadway.

Soon, the action picked up:  Alfonso Soriano hit a double:

6 - soriano doubles.jpg

Soriano seemed to be the only big name in the Cubs line-up.  I’m not up on the Cubs.  I’m not sure where everyone else was — no Aramis Ramirez and no Milton Bradley.  So my Cubs photos focused on Soriano.  He looks like he is going to hit a bomb on every swing he takes.

While sitting here, I noticed that the out-of-town scoreboard was telling a happy story:

7 - good news from cleveland.JPG

After eating, Tim wanted to go check out the play area in CF:

8 - mlb cheat sheet.JPG

The play area is the red and blue thing to the far right of the picture.  To the left, there are some big signs with all of the 30 MLB team logos.  Usually each stadium has the team flags or logos in order of the current standings.  Nationals Park just has the logos.  Not sure why.

 When we arrived at the play area, they had just told everyone to clear out.  Some kid had spilled some bodily fluids (not sure what) out there and they brought the hazmat trucks in to clean up.

So we stood in straight away CF and watched the game.  This was our view:

9 - nats cf field panaramic.jpg

It was a good thing we got booted out of the play area or we would have missed Soriano hitting a bomb in his second at bat:

10 - soriano bomb.jpg

In the interest of full disclosure, the top left picture is actually a foul ball right before the HR.  But the top right, is the actual HR swing.  A pretty sweet swing.  I thought we were in Chicago — the whole stadium went crazy!

Did I mention that I love my new camera?  Check out these floating ball shots I took from straight away CF:

11 - floating balls.jpg

After we got these shots, it was time for the play area:

12 - playarea.jpg

The most frequently broken rule?  No. 8 — no food or drink in the play area.  The violators:  Moms and Dads.  Not this one.

After a little while, play time was done and it was off to the RF seats for us.  Here is an interesting picture of Tim that I took through his seat:

13 - thru seat.jpg

Can you tell what Tim is doing in this picture?

The Answer:

14 - nats ice cream helmet.jpg

In the picture to the left, Tim is holding out his spoon after telling me to take a picture of his ice cream.  By the way, for the first time ever, he went with Cookies’n’Creme — and he loved it.  In the picture to the right, Tim is all concerned that I missed getting a picture of the ice cream on his spoon.  He was very invested in that shot and was upset by the idea that I might have missed it.  As you can see, I nailed it!

This was our view from our ice cream seats:

15 - nats rf ice cream seasts panaramic.jpgAfter I cream, it was time to try to catch a home run:

17 - hit it here.jpg

Unfortunately, Adam Dunn couldn’t quite find the seats in this at bat:

18 - dunn done.jpg

[NOTE:  click on picture to enlarge.  You'll be able to see the ball in the top picture right at the bottom of the "T" in "Tickets."]

Check out all of these empty seats:

19 - empty seats.jpg

See the yellow circle at the bottom right?  That’s where Tim and I sat for the ninth inning.

So, all season, I’ve been trying to get a good action shot of an outfielder catching a fly ball.  Its harder than it sounds because you don’t know when a ball will be hit to any given outfielder.  Somehow, I got two decent shots at this game:

20 - running catches.jpg

In the top picture, the ball has just hit the leather of Soriano’s glove.  In the bottom picture, you can see the ball a couple feet above Adam Dunn.

While we were sitting in these seats, we noticed the Nats bullpen catcher would sometimes throw his warm up ball into the stands after warming up Josh Willingham in RF.  Tim wanted to play catch.  So we decided to give it one shot at a ball before going to find a spot to play catch.  It worked like this:

21 - nelson robledo to TJCs.jpg

As far as I can tell, the Nats bullpen catcher is former career minor leaguer, Nelson Robledo.  We were sure to thank Mr. Robledo for his kindness.

Then it was off to play catch by the batting cages in CF:

22a - playing catch.jpg

In the middle picture, Tim is showing his pitching leg kick.  He just learned his pitching motion in the last couple weeks.  I didn’t teach it to him.  He just copied what he saw me and other pitchers doing.  He does a full wind-up at time too.  These pictures are poor quality because we were in a dark hallway type-area.  Eventually, we were told not to play catch in there — “BOO, NATIONALS!  BOO!”  If we can play catch in a busy area of a bustling new Yankee Stadium without incident or reprimand, surely we should be able to play catch in an empty area of Nationals Park.

Next, we headed up to the Red Porch to watch the game with the party people in the house.  People were having a good time up there.  This was our view:

24 - nats red porch panaramic.jpg

…and here is what it looks like up on the Red Porch:

23 - red porch.jpg

Next, we headed over to the seats behind the Cubs’ dugout.  Here is a panaramic from the top of the aisle:

25 -nats cubs dugout panaramic.jpg

When I took this picture, Tim was sitting on my shoulders.  I was sure this guy in the yellow shirt and Nats hat to the far right was going to kick us out of the section and tell me to take Tim off of my shoulders.   Last time we were here, that is certainly what would have happened.  However, he did just the opposite.  He told me, “You have your hands full, why don’t you grab a seat.”  Excellent idea.  Thanks.

I grabbed some seats in the fourth row.

They gave us an excellent view of Notre Dame football start Jeff Samardzija:

26 - samardzija.jpg

Hey, did I mention that future Mariners Hall of Famer, Sweet Lou Piniella was in the house?

27a - Sweet Lou.JPGIt was game time for the Nats.  Despite sending their best hitter to the plate…

27 - last hope.jpg

…Cubs Win!  Cubs Win!  Cubs Win!

28 - congrats cubs.jpg

And it was time for Kids Run the Bases:

29 - nats 1B side track.jpg

The gal standing on the grass by first base in the Nats jersey is in the process of shouting, “MARINERS!!!”  I didn’t get her back story, but she said the Mariners are her favorite team.  Good to see we’ve infiltrated the Nationals!

Here is Tim at first base:

30 - run first base.jpg

Tim ran about 10 feet passed first base and than stopped.  He turned around and he yelled that he wanted me to run with him.  He came back over to me and I explained that only kids can run the bases so I couldnt’ run with him.  In an odd twist, Tim decided he didn’t want to run without me on this day.  So we just walked around the track and looked at everything.

I got this picture of the Nats doing some field touch-ups:

31 - painting W.JPG

And with that, we left Nationals Park for the final time this season.

But before heading home, we decided to go see a few other attractions in the D.C. area — you might have heard of them:

32 - capitol area.jpg

Tim loved the fountains at the WWII memorial.

Eventually, we had to hit the road to head home.  We had directional difficulties on the way down, so we decided to have some more on the way home.  This is an easy drive.  I’m not sure what the hecked I was thinking.  All I had to do was head up I-695 and connect to I-83 in Baltimore.

Sadly, I missed the I-695 turn off from I-95.  No problem.  I figured I’d just head into Baltimore and connect to I-83 downtown…by this:


 


33 - holy baltimore batman.JPG

The Baltimoreans decided it would be an excellent idea to put a street festival on the street leading to the I-83 entrance.  Hey, no problem.   I was looking for an opportunity to detour all around downtown Baltimore.

Oh, well.  Here are our goodies for the day:


34 - nats goodies.JPG

[Note:  Ball from Robledo, ice cream helmet, exchanged ticket showing $0.00, and Nationals give-away of insulated lunch bags].

Season Fan Stats:

19 Games (plus one 5+ hour rain out with no game)
7 Stadiums
(Safeco Field, Camden Yards, Citizens Bank Park, Citi Field, Nationals Park, Yankee Stadium, and Fenway Park)
14 Teams (Mariners, A’s, Rangers, Rays, Orioles, Tigers, Red Sox, Yankees, Phillies, Mets, Nationals, Cubs,
Braves and Padres, Dodgers — and sort of the Giants)
15 Ice Cream Helmets (Mariners (4), Phillies (3), Mets, Nationals (3), Red Sox (3) and Yankees)
18 Baseballs (12 Mariners, 2 Rangers, 1 Phillies, 1 Red Sox, 1 Umpire, 1 Nationals) 
4 Divisions Closed Out (So far in Tim’s Life — AL West, AL East, NL West, NL East)
 
3 Autographs (King Felix Hernandez, Jason Phillips, Ryan Perry) 
2 Player/G.M. Photographs (King Felix Hernandez, Jack Zduriencik, Ryan Perry)
 
5 Mascot Pictures (Mariners Moose (2), Orioles Bird (2), 3 Presidents (Nats), Screech (Nats) — Honorable Mention: The Green Monster statue bench)

Fourth of July at Fenway – Mariners Win!

So, we woke up to a lazy Saturday morning in Boston…

1 - july 4th.JPG…it was Independence Day, better head over to Fenway.

Wait, first, we better hit some baseballs in Copley Square:

2 - copley ball.JPGI’m not sure why, but some tourist actually took pictures of Tim hitting in Copley Square.

Soon, it was time to hit the road for our already familiar walk down Boylston Street to Ipswich Street and over to Lansdowne — ah, Fenway Park:

3 - walking to fenway.jpg

 Tim and I entered the park through Gate C on Lansdowne and headed up the CF stairs to the Green Monster.  I was sad to learn that they were already checking tickets, so we couldn’t get all the way out onto the Monster, but I took pictures for this panaramic:

4 - fenway CF green monster panaramic.jpg

My folks entered from Gate A on Yawkey Way and went into the field seats behind the Mariners dugout where someone snapped this shot:

4a - folks in fenway.JPG

Tim and I came over and met up with my folks and we spotted our buddy from the streets of Boston, Mariners GM Jack Zdureincik:

5 - Jack Z in dugout.JPG

While we were standing here, there was almost nothing going on on the field.  Felix Hernandez and Erik Bedard were playing catch down the LF line by the Green Monster.  But the field was otherwise empty.  Maybe some grounds crew people were watering the infield.  Tim and I were just sitting in the front row drinking some cold water to cool off.

A couple minutes after taking that picture of Jack Z. above, Tim, my mom and I moved down the 3B line a bit and stood where the red arrow is pointing in the picture of Jack.  Immediately, upon our arrive (literally within a few seconds), Erik Bedard and Jason Phillips walked by:

6 - bedard and phillips.JPG

Bedard spotted Tim and I and chucked his and Felix’s warm up ball to us — Sweet!

“Thanks, Erik!”

Jason Phillips looks over at us and give us a big smile and a point, “You again!”  We returned the favor with a smile and a point.  If you haven’t read the last two entries, Phillips, Tim and I had shared a couple exchanges the previous day and two days earlier in New York.

In case you aren’t familiar with Mr. Phillips and want to look him up on Baseball-Reference.com, you’ll notice there are two Jason Phillips in major league history.  This one is Jason Lloyd Phillips.  He is now the Mariners bullpen catcher.  But he previously played for the Mets, Dodgers, and Blue Jays.  His best season was 2003 when he hit .298 with 120 hits, 11 HRs and 56 RBI for the Mets.  Hopefully he’ll get another shot to make a big league club.  If not, I’m happy to have him in the Mariners bullpen and organization.

Back to the game at hand.  We noticed that Mariners ALL-STAR pitcher Felix Hernandez was signing autographs down the 3B line.  I’m not a big autograph guy, but I figured what the heck, let’s give it a shot.  I didn’t have a pen, but I thought it would be cool to have Felix sign the ball he’d just used to play catch with Bedard.

Much more than autographs, I prefer getting our picture with players.  So when Felix grabbed his warm up ball back from me I asked him if we could get our picture with him.  Felix signed the ball with a borrowed sharpie and responded, “Sure.”

I took the first one myself and then looked at it and it wasn’t very good.  Felix just stood and watched me waiting for me to give him the “okay” on the picture.  Very cool.  A nice Bostonian said, “Let me take it.”  So I handed her my camera and Felix posed for another picture with us — much better:

“Thanks, Felix.”

“Thanks, lady.”

Here we go:

7 - felix warm up ball autograph and photo.jpg

When I gave King Felix the ball, I was wondering if he thought it was odd that I’d ask him to sign such a dirty ball.  He didn’t give me the ball, so he didn’t know it was his warm up ball.

My dad buys a team ball at each stadium he visits.  He got Felix to sign a Red Sox / Fenway Park Fourth of July Ball.

Here we are in the 3B side concourse showing off the Bedard-Hernandez ball:

8 - championship wall and felix ball.JPG

Although you can’t see it, that wall has signs for all of the Red Sox World Series Championships.  FYI, you can see in this picture that I brought my new Rawlings Trap-Eze infielders glove.  I saw it at the Rawlings outlet and loved the white lacing.  I have no actual need for an infielders glove (I play LF for a beer league softball team), but I had to get it.  I love it.

Next, we checked out Yawkey Way:

9 - Yawkey Way.JPGThis is the main street along the 3B side of the park.  FYI, Fenway Park’s address is 4 Yawkey Way.  This street and all of the people shown in the picture are actually *inside* the stadium.

That band was playing on Yawkey Way and they were rockin’ it hard.  I really enjoyed them.  To their right, you can see “Big League Brian” — the dude on stilts.  He has a soft baseball that he throws back and forth with fans in the crowd.  Tim wanted to go down to see him and the band, but when we finally made our way down there the band was packing up and BLB was nowhere to be found.

Next, my folks headed to our seats in the CF bleachers — section 37, row 21.  Tim didn’t want to go out into the sun.  So we hung out in the shady standing room area at the back of the grandstand behind third base.

And we took some pictuers.

Here is the Mariners bullpen crew walking to the bullpen — Chris Jakubauskas is sporting the pink backpack (Q:  Is my A-Rod ball in there???  We’ll have to wait and see…):

10 - bullpen to bullpen.JPG

Griff and his colleagues stood for the National Anthem:

11 - National Anthem.JPG

Ichi and Griff in the on-deck circle:

12 - Ichi and Griff.JPG

Ichiro led off the game.  Its no secret, but I’ll go on the record — this guy is decent, extremely decent:

13 - Ichiro.JPG

He was followed shortly by The Kid:

14- Griff Hitting.JPG

In the bottom picture, you can see the ball going foul.  He hit it directly above me and Tim.

By the way, I must note that the people at Fenway (pretty much everyone, fans, attendants, cops, everyone…) are so cool.  Many of the standing room areas under the grandstand have painted lines on the ground that are clearly marked “STANDING ROOM.”  In those areas, they have attendants that will come ask you to stand in the lines if you are milling about outside of the lines.

As Griffey was at bat, I was standing right behind the seats and 15 feets or so outside of the designated “STANDING ROOM.”  Tim was on my shoulders and I was focused on taking shots of Griff.  A bunch of other fans were standing all around me, also outside of the designated “STANDING ROOM.”  I could hear an attendant approaching and telling people they needed to stand in the marketd areas.  Then amazingly, he went to every single person in my area EXCEPT ME.  He tapped each person on the shoulder and politely explained that they needed to stand in the painted “STANDING ROOM” areas.  But he just let me stand in the middle of the aisle and take pictures of Junior.  How cool is that?  He understood that it was important to me to get some shots of my guy, and he just let me stay there and do my thing.

“Thanks, dude!”

 After Griff’s at bat, Tim was ready for a chocolate ice cream helmet, and we were lucky enough to walk by a standing room counter space right as a guy left it — so I watched the game from here (leaning around the pole) as Tim ate his ice cream:

14a - ice cream standing room.jpg

FYI, if you want oreos, M&M’s or other toppings on your ice cream helmet at Fenway, I believe you have to go to the ice cream place behind the RF bleachers.  They had no toppings at the ice cream stand at the back of the grandstand.

Here is a shot of the grandstand seating down the 1B line:

15 - Grandstand.JPGIn

In my post for the July 3rd game, I mentioned that Tim and enjoyed standing in the walkway behind the grandstand seats down the 1B line.  The red arrow in the last picture shows where we stood for several innings during this game.  Here is what it looks like up close:

16 - walkway.JPG

Tim is sitting on the step in this picture.  He is checking out some beads that a Red Sox fan gave him on our walk to this spot.  The guy was all dressed and painted up in red, white and blue for the Fourth of July.  He saw Tim on my shoulders and gave him a set of red and blue beads.  For the rest of the weekend, Tim had me wear one set while he wore the other.

Here is our view of the field from where Tim was sitting (FYI, the view is much better from the standing position — I really liked it in this spot):

17 - view from section 5 walkway.JPG

Tim loved it in the aisle way.  He was all smiles, that is until he grabbed his glove and started playing catcher:

18 - fun in the walkway.JPG

Note, Tim is not wearing his shoes.  He felt right at home at Fenway.  He was in his socks probably 50% of the time while we were at Fenway during the weekend.

From the aisle, we watched the Mariners bullpen stand in a line:

19 - Mariners bullpen lineup.JPG

(From left:  Coach John Wetteland, Mark Lowe, Sean Kelley, David Aardsma (bald), Roy Corcoran (hat behind Aardsma), Sean White (looking down), Chris Jakubauskas, Not-Sure-Probably-Jason-Phillips, Not-Sure-Probably-Miguel-Batista — through the crack, pink backpack).

I’m not sure why the Mariners bullpen does this, but (as you’ll see) they do it a lot.  They are standing in a line facing away from the scoreboard and toward the doorway from the bullpen to the field.  I meant to try to ask someone in the bullpen what it was all about, but I forgot.  My mom’s theory is that they are seeing off a bullpen-mate who is entering the game.  I’m not sure.  I don’t think a reliever came in at this point.  Anyone have any ideas?

Finally, we had avoided the sun long enough, we decided to join my parents in our seats in CF.  Here was our view:

20 - fenway section 37 row 21 panaramic.jpg

[NOTE:  While uploading that picture, Franklin Gutierrez hit a 3-run bomb against the Rangers to put the Mariners up 3-1 in the bottom of the 8th.  Can we finally beat the Rangers?  Yes!  Go Mariners!]

Before sitting down, Tim showed my folks his shoulder-top power stroke:

21 - swinging in 37.JPG

My mom and the Fenway faithful taught Tim how to do his first “wave”:

22 - first wave.JPG

The Mariners changed pitchers and the outfielders converged to do some stretching:

23 - to stretch or not stretch.JPG

Soon, I decided to go down behind the Mariners bullpen, just in case Griffey, Ichi or Branyan decided to hit a HR there.  Tim stayed with my folks for a bit, but then he requested to come down to me — by this point, the boy was bare footed (so I made him stay on my shoulders):

24 - behind bullpen.JPG

Can you spot us in that picture?  We’re standing next to a police officer at the back upper corner of the bullpen.  Notice anything else in that picture?  Yep, the guys were back at it again:

28 - bullpen lineup.JPG

I know there is some meaning to this, but what is it?

We watched Miguel Batista play catch with Ichiro between innings:

26 - miguel batista.JPG

All of a sudden, Tim tells me, “Take a picture of those guys!”

Todd:  “Who?”

Tim:  “Those guys” (pointing, but I couldn’t see it because he was behind my head)

Todd:  “Who?  I can’t see where you’re pointing.”

Tim:  “THOSE GUYS!”

Todd:  “Buddy, I can’t see where you’re pointing.  Who do you want me to take a picture of?”

Unknown Voice:  “He’s pointing at me.”

Todd:  “Oh, okay.”

Here are “those guys”:

25 - cop usher and shiny glasses.JPG

“Those guys” didn’t care at all that Tim and I stood right here in the middle of the aisle for the last three innings of the game.  Very cool.  Thanks, those guys.

The police office asked Tim, “Hey, little guy, are you a Red Sox fan?”

I told him that we were Red Sox fans to the extent that we can’t stand the Yankees (sorry, Yankees fans).  The officer responded, “That’s fine by me.  We can accept that.”  He was a nice guy.

Soon we saw this guy stretching out and warming up:

27 - Aardsma.JPG

David Aardsma = Mariners Win.

The Happy Totals to prove it:

32 - more happy totals.JPG

If you couldn’t tell, our seats were under the “great” in the “make something great” sign.

How awesome, three games into our weekend road trip, the Mariners are 3-0.

The bullpen guys marched back to the dugout to greet the rest of their teammates — Jakubauskas totes the pink backpack…hmmm…and my A-Rod ball?):

30 - bullpen to dugout.JPG

Then I watched a couple guys fix the Mariners bullpen mound.  This closet is at the CF end of the Red Sox bullpen:

29 - bullpen fixer.JPG

The bullpen fixer guys, like everyone else, were really nice too.  One of them congratulated Tim on his team winning the game.

Before leaving Fenway, we got a family picture:

31 - cooks at fenway.JPG

Tim shows off his Felix Hernandez ball.

It was the Fourth of July, so that night, we headed to the park along the river and watched some fireworks:

33 - fireworks.JPG

After fireworks, we returned to our hotel and who did we run into by the elevators?  Mariners reliever and keeper of the pink backpack, Chris Jakubauskas.  As he walked by, I called out, “Hey, Chris!?”  He spun around, “Hey, man.”

He walked over and chatted with me and my folks for a couple minutes – probably about 3 minutes or so.  Here is paraphrased excerpt of part of our conversation:

Todd:  “So you got an A-Rod ball in your pink backpack?”

Chris:  “Huh, what?  Oh, yeah.  Where’d that come from?”

Todd:  “Its mine.”

Chris:  “I was going through the backpack because I have to make sure we have certain things in there and I pull out this A-Rod ball.  I’m like, ‘What the h— is this A-Rod ball?’  I took it around to everyone, ‘Did you put this A-Rod ball in there?’ No one knew about it.”

Todd:  “I gave it to Jason Phillips the other night in New York”

Chris:  “I’m gonna have to ask Phillips about that one.”

Todd:  “I’ve had it sitting around for a couple years and couldn’t stand it, so I thought it would be happier in the pink backpack.”

Tim (to Chris):  Do you want to come see my room?”

Chris:  “What, little guy?”

Tim:  “Do you want to come see my room?”

I told Tim that Chris has his own room and was on his way somewhere so he couldn’t come see our room.  Before parting ways, I asked Chris if he’d watched the fireworks from his room in the hotel.  He explained that David Aardsma (a former Red Sox player) got them out onto the Green Monster to watch the fireworks.  Hmmm…its nice to be a major league ball player and to have connections!

It was very cool chatting with Jakubauskas.  He was extremely nice and was glad to chat with some Mariners fans in the elevator bank.  Many props to Jak.  He’s got some fans in the Cook household.

After chatting with Jak, we called it a night and looked forward to our final game of the weekend the next day…

Season Fan Stats:

17 Games (plus one 5+ hour rain out with no game)
7 Stadiums
(Safeco Field, Camden Yards, Citizens Bank Park, Citi Field, Nationals Park, Yankee Stadium, and Fenway Park)
13 Teams (Mariners, A’s, Rangers, Rays, Orioles, Tigers, Red Sox, Yankees, Phillies, Mets, Nationals,
Braves and Padres, Dodgers — and sort of the Giants)
13 Ice Cream Helmets (Mariners (4), Phillies (3), Mets, Nationals (2), Red Sox (2) and Yankees)
15 Baseballs (10 Mariners, 2 Rangers, 1 Phillies, 1 Red Sox, 1 Umpire) 
4 Divisions Closed Out (So far in Tim’s Life — AL West, AL East, NL West, NL East)
 
3 Autographs (King Felix Hernandez, Jason Phillips, Ryan Perry) 
2 Player/G.M. Photographs (King Felix Hernandez, Jack Zduriencik, Ryan Perry)
 
5 Mascot Pictures (Mariners Moose (2), Orioles Bird (2), 3 Presidents (Nats), Screech (Nats))

Start Spreading The News: Mariners Beat Yankees in the Bronx (7/2/09)

So I am behind in my entries because my folks, Tim and I are in the midst of an EXTREMELY AWESOME Fourth-of-July-Mariners-Rampage-on-the-A.L.-East-Leaders-Weekend Roadtrip.  Right now, Tim is crashed out from another super-sweet Mariners victory at Fenway Park.  So I guess it is time to use Tim’s pre-fireworks nap to begin my entry for our July 2, 2009 game at the new Yankee Stadium.

After the M’s schedule came out for this season, I noticed the M’s would be in Boston over the 4th of July weekend.  So I asked my recently retired parents, Jim and Marilyn, if they wanted to meet up with me and Tim for some road M’s games.  Then we realized that the day before the Boston series the M’s would be in the Bronx.  So we incorporated this game into our trip.

My good friend from college, Davlynn, used to live at 84th & Amsterdam, so I always park there whenever I go to NYC.  So that’s what we did.  And we took the B and the D train up to the Stadium.  The people on the subway were very nice.  We were going the wrong way and several people pointed us in the right direction when they noticed we were wearing Mariners gear but heading the wrong way.

Once we arrived at 161st Street, this is what we saw:

1- bronx outside panaramic.jpg

Tim was a bit disoriented from just waking up from a nap.  So he didn’t want his picture outside the stadium.  But we got some a shot of me and my dad, and one of my folks:

2a - outside with folks.JPG

Tim was pretty helpful, however, finding the tickets in my mom’s purse:

2 - finding tickets.JPG

Once found, we entered the stadium through Gate 6:

3 - into stadium.JPG

The “Great Hall” is pretty Great.  Its some pretty cool architecture.  But it doesn’t look like a baseball stadium.  More like a really cool train station — like 30th Street Station in Philadelphia.

Here is our first view of the field:

4- bronx 1st view panaramic.jpg

We went early for Mariners BP (and a few minutes of Yankees BP) so we had the *great honor* of visiting the exclusive field level of Yankee Stadium:

5 - field level.JPG

In the first picture, Tim is stuffing his face with a hot dog and pretzel.  It really hit the stop and made it so he could start enjoying his Bronx experience.  In the middle, my pa and I pose with the field before heading off to make our best efforts and snagging a BP homerun.  On the right, I wanted to show you my silly Washington Nationals string backpack.  I learned the hard way last season at the Yankees don’t allow real back packs.  So, luckily, at the May 17th Phillies/Nationals game in D.C., the Nationals gave Tim this string backpack that we used at this game.

While the Yankees were still hitting, I went behind home plate to take a panaramic:

 

9 - bronx field home panaramic.jpg

…and we saw Freddy Sez…who had a less than prophetic message on this sign:

 

8 - freddy sez.JPG

Later, we jinxed the Yankees by having Tim — a true blue Mariners fan — ding Freddy’s pan — TAKE THAT YANKEES!

I watched the M’s prepare for BP:

 

10 - Griff Felix BP.JPG

You can’t tell in this picture, but King Felix was swinging a bat behind the cage.  I noticed that it was Ronny Cedeno’s bat.  Griff, on the other hand, was swinging a Ken Griffey, Jr. bat.

Griff and Ichi were in the first group of M’s hitters and they practiced their bunting:

 

10a - ichi to griff.JPGA few minutes later, we were banished from the field level.  We made our way to the less exclusive bleachers where my dad became the first Cook to snag a ball at Yankee Stadium.  It was Mariners BP homerun.  It bounced into the field level seats and my pappy reached out and grabbed it before it could fall back down to the field level seats.  Here he is with his bounty:

6 - pa 1st bronx ball.jpg

Then my dad and Tim posed for a picture in the bleachers:

7 - tim and pa.JPG

Tim asked my mom if she’d take a picture of him with his water bottle on his head.  And she’s a grandma, so she said yes:

8 - waterhead.JPG

 Soon, BP was finished and it was time to explore the stadium.  We started by climbing the stairs in RF to the highest spot in RF where I took this picture:

11 - 4-train.JPG

That’s the number 4 train speeding by the outfield wall — which it did all night long.  Tim loves trains.  So it was cool to have one zooming by every couple of minutes.  Our seats were in the third to last row right on the aisle under the big ball on the AT&T sign — and they cost me only $5/ticket.

While up there, I zoomed in on the new Monument Park…

12 - monument park.jpg

…and this picture of Carsten Charles Sabbathia — who looked almost as big as Monument Park:

 

13 - sabbathia warms.jpgThen we headed to the highest point behind home plate where I took these pictures:

15 - bronx home upper panaramic.jpg

While Tim hung out with Grandpa, I got this picture with my mom:

16 - upper deck with mom.JPG

And then we got a family picture (except for me wife who is home watching the puppy and relaxing):

17 - folks and TJCs.JPG

Then we went to the highest spot in LF.  I took this picture showing the bleachers and the bullpens, etc.:

18 - bleachers from upper deck.JPG

Then we headed to our seats.  Here is Tim standing on the row in front of our seats.  Check it out, traditional “bleachers” with no seat backs:

19 - Tim in 238-22-2.JPG

By the way, for anyone interest in it, this picture was taking from Section 238, Row 22, Seat 2.  From that spot, we watched Jason Vargas warm-up for the game:

21 - vargas warms.jpg

From our seats, this is what you see if you look behind you over your right shoulder:

20 - retired numbers.JPG

Here is what they mean:  4 – Lou Gehrig; 3 – Babe Ruth; 5 – Joe DiMaggio, 7 – Mickey Mantle, 37 – Casey Stengel; 8 – Yogi Berra & Bill Dickey (retired together in 1972); 16 – Whitey Ford; 15 – Thurmon Munson; 32 – Elston Howard; 9 – Roger Maris; 10 – Phil Rizzuto; 1 – Billy Martin; 44 – Reggie Jackson; 23 – Don Mattingly; 49 – Ron Guidry; and 42 – Jackie Robinson (in Dodger Blue instead of Yankee blue).

 My main gripe with new Yankee Stadium is that it is sorta like a museum with tons of armed guards stationed everywhere to keep the museum safe from the riff-raff that trudge through it.  There were armed police officers all over the place.  Tons and tons of them.  And one of the main goals of the place seems to be to keep the low paying customers out of the way of the high paying customers.  However, I was very happy to learn that they don’t really care what you do in the concourse (other than carry your son on your shoulders).  Specifically, in the outfield concourse directly on the back side of the retired numbers no one cared if Tim and I played catch.  We didn’t just throw one or two balls.  We full-on played catched for several innings at a time twice.  Here we are having a lot of fun (and I could even see Ichiro score the first run of the game from here):

 
22 - playing catch.jpg

After our first catching session, Tim got an ice cream helmet for $6.50:

23 - bronx ice cream helmet.JPG

Hey, have you heard at all about some seats having an obstructed view in CF in Yankee Stadium?  The rumors are true — how in the world did they failed to plan around this?

24 - obstructed view.JPG
Don’t worry.  If you sit in these seats, its I’m sure nothing will happen in RF or 1B — and if it does, I’m sure you’ll be able to see all the action by looking at the side of those flat screen TVs.

Eventually, my dad wanted to see the team store so we went exploring.  Here is a panaramic from the second deck in LF foul territory:

26 - bronx LF foul concourse panaramic.jpg

Here is the main entrance to the Yankees front office:

27 - Yankees Offices.JPG

They do have standing room in the open air concourse behind the field level where anyone can stand and watch the action.  Here is a shot of Kenji Johima getting drilled by a pitch:

29 - hitting kenji.JPG

Here is another shot of the Great Hall — this time at night with the readboards lit up in blut lights:

30 - great hall blue.JPG

When we got back to our seats, it seemed like some of the crowd had left.  We were able to get some seats down in the first row above the Mariners bullpen.

 

31d - watching the M's win.JPG

Notice the armed guard right next to us.

We watched David Aardsma warm up:

31 - david aardsma.JPG

The M’s bullpen is a colorful group of guys.  They have a bunch of traditions that help them build a sense of family in the pen.  One is a pink backpack that rookie reliever Chris Jakubauskas carries everywhere.  Another is a bunch of warrior helmets the releivers take with them:

31a - helmets.JPG

Here is 30-year-old rookie Jakubauskas sitting with one of the helmets:

31b - jak and helmet.JPG

Jak and M’s bullpen catcher, Jason Phillips — a heck of a good guy as I’ve come to learn — were having a great time in the bullpen.  A bunch of Yankees fans were playfully heckling them and they were playing right along.  Eventually, Jason Phillips rewarded me with a ball after I called out his name:

31c - TJCs first ball.JPG

After Phillips threw us the ball (the second ball he’s thrown us this season), I got an idea.  The M’s tote around all sorts of odd things in their pink backpack.  I thought I’d try to give them something to add to the mix.  I’ve had an A-Rod Mariners photo ball sitting around the house for years that I just can’t stand.  I thought it might find a happier home in the pink backpack.  So I wrote a message on it:

32 - A-Rod ball.JPG

After Aardsma shut the Yankees down for the Mariners win, I tried to get Phillips’ attention again.  I think I may be one of the only people who knows his name while at a Mariners game.  So he has responded well to me calling his name.  I yelled out again and showed him the ball and said I wanted to throw it to him.  He yelled something that looked agreeable, but then he walked out of sight.  He came back a minute or two later and waved a ball at me and yelled, “Its autographed already” and he threw it up to me.  I thanked him for it but yelled back, “Thanks.  But I want you to have *this ball*.”  I threw it down to him.  My mom yelled, “Read it!”

Phillips picked it up and read it.  He gave me a big smile and a thumbs up and walked out of sight.  By golly, I think it worked!  (Stay tuned for future entries to see if it really worked!)

Interestingly, the autographed ball made it two balls from Phillips in about 10 minutes.  Here they are with one of our tickets and Tim’s ice cream helmet:

35 - helmet balls and ticket.JPG

After the game, we posed for pictures.  Here are my folks:

33 - folks after m's win.JPG

Tim was too tired for our picture.  The game ended at 11 o’clock due in part to a 30 minute “rain delay” despite absolultely no rain and the field ever being covered.

Here is Tim a few minutes later in the subway:

34 - lights out on subway.JPG

Now, its off to Boston!

Season Fan Stats:

15 Games (plus one 5+ hour rain out with no game)
6 Stadiums
(Safeco Field, Camden Yards, Citizens Bank Park, Citi Field and Nationals Park, Yankee Stadium)
13 Teams (Mariners, A’s, Rangers, Rays, Orioles, Tigers, Yankees, Phillies, Mets, Nationals,
Braves and Padres, Dodgers — and sort of the Giants)
11 Ice Cream Helmets (Mariners (4), Phillies (3), Mets, Nationals (2), and Yankees)
11 Baseballs (7 Mariners, 2 Rangers, 1 Phillies, 1 Umpire)
3 Divisions Closed Out (So far in Tim’s Life — AL West, NL East, NL West)
 
2 Autographs (Ryan Perry, Jason Phillips)
1 Player Photograph (Ryan Perry)
 
5 Mascot Pictures (Mariners Moose (2), Orioles Bird (2), 3 Presidents (Nats), Screech (Nats))

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